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The John Lewis Youth Leadership Award, established by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), aims to honor the extraordinary accomplishments of Congressman John Lewis. His courageous achievements during the Civil Rights Movement and his long tenure of public service have inspired and will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come. In 1961, at the age of 21, Lewis was one of the original thirteen Freedom Riders. In 1963, Lewis was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington and also one of the “Big Six” leaders that organized the march. In 1965, Lewis helped lead the Selma to Montgomery marches. The first march took place on March 7, 1965 at the Edmund Pettus Bridge where unarmed marchers were attacked by state troopers. The event later became known as “Bloody Sunday” and was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis’ activism at an early age continued throughout his life and he served as a U.S. Congressman for 33 years until he passed away in 2020.

Established in February 2021, NASS members may recognize a gifted, civic-minded young person in their state each year. The recipient should demonstrate leadership abilities, have a passion for social justice, and be motivated to improve the quality of life in their community.


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The nomination period for the 2023 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award will be announced soon.

Eligibility Requirements

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  • The nominee must be a resident of the State of Delaware.
  • The nominee must be 25 years or younger by the close of the application submission window of the nominating year.
  • The nominee is recognized in their community for being civic-minded and improving the quality of life of their community.
  • The nominee has shown a meaningful commitment to address civil rights issues, including but not limited to voting rights, and to authentically bring about positive change in his or her community.
    • Examples could include youth leadership in a specific project or program, advocacy, or even literature as the late-Congressman also won a National Book Award for young people’s literature.
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Nominate an individual (Form to open late 2023)

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