After 14 years, Reebok is bringing back its program created to recognize young human rights activists.
Today, the athletic brand announced the return of the Reebok Human Rights Award program, which was active from 1988 to 2007. The refreshed initiative — which is being updated with the help of Alabama State University and the American Civil Liberties Union — will honor human rights activists annually who are younger than 30 years old. They will be announced in June, Reebok said, and will receive $100,000 to support their work.
Nominations for this year are being accepted via Reebok.com/human_rights_award.
“The need for activism to promote equality and the rights of all humans has arguably never been greater. We are proud to, once again, celebrate and support young individuals who have dedicated their lives to fighting injustice and creating a better world,” Reebok president Matt O’Toole said in a statement. “And we are incredibly fortunate and grateful to be able to relaunch the program with the support of the ACLU and Alabama State University. Together we believe this program can be a catalyst for meaningful change.”
Also, Reebok revealed the program’s board of advisors today. The board includes Kerby Jean-Raymond (Reebok VP of creative direction and Pyer Moss founder); NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal; immigrant rights activist Sara Mora; Tiffany Dena Loftin (NAACP youth and college division national director); ASU alumna Phaidra Knight; ASU assistant professor Dr. Regina Moorer; ACLU executive director Anthony Romero; and ACLU chief equity and inclusion officer Amber Hikes.
Reebok confirmed more board members will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Reebok was a pioneer in recognizing human rights work by young activists and elevating, supporting and highlighting important issues and causes,” Equal Justice Initiative founder and executive director Bryan Stevenson said in a statement. “When I received the award in 1989, I met co-awardees and inspiring advocates from China, Brazil, Northern Ireland who have become lifelong partners in human rights. At a time when so many young people are doing such extraordinary work to make the world more just, equitable and safe, I’m delighted to see the revival of the Reebok Human Rights Award.”
More than a decade ago, Reebok said there were more than 80 recipients from roughly 40 countries who were Human Rights Awards program recipients, a list that included Stevenson as well as environmentalist and activist Winona LaDuke in 1988 and civil rights attorney Vanita Gupta in 2004.