The Delaware Department of State is now accepting nominations for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award. More Info logo

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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.

The John Lewis Youth Leadership Award was created in February 2021, as a way for NASS members to 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.



  • The recipient must be a resident of the State of Delaware.
  • The recipient must be 25 years or younger by the close of the application submission window of October 21, 2022. 
  • The recipient is recognized in their community for being civic-minded and improving the quality of life in their community.
  • The recipient 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 Congressman also won a National Book Award for young people’s literature.


Nominations will be accepted from September 12th through October 21st, 2022

September 12, 2022

Application portal opens.

October 21, 2022

Deadline to submit nominations.

November 2022

Award recipient chosen and notified.

December 2022

Presentation of award.

Nomination Form

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is eligible to be nominated for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award?

Any resident of the State of Delaware who is 25 years old or younger at the time that the nomination opens each year and who has demonstrated meaningful commitment to addressing civil rights issues may be nominated for the award.

What is the deadline to submit nominations for the 2022 award? What if I miss the deadline?

All nominations must be completed in full and submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on October 21st, 2022, to be considered for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award. If a nominator misses the deadline, he or she will have the opportunity to be considered for the following year’s award.

Do I have to live in the State of Delaware to nominate an individual?

No, the nominator does not have to live in Delaware. However, the nominee must be a resident of Delaware and must demonstrate commitment to addressing civil rights issues in the state.

Can I make changes to my nomination once it is submitted?

No, after the application is submitted, you will not be able to make changes. Nominators should carefully review all information prior to completing and submitting the application.

Can I complete the nomination via mail or email?

No. All nominations must be completed and submitted using the online form found at If you have a unique challenge that prohibits you from submitting an online nomination, please email Note: No nominations will be accepted via this email address.

May I tell my nominee about the nomination? May I consult with my nominee to obtain the information needed to complete the nomination?

Informing an individual that he or she has been nominated for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award is at the discretion of the nominator. We encourage a nominator to consult with the nominee to provide the most compelling story of his/her commitment to addressing civil rights issues in his/her community.

What happens if two people nominate the same individual?

If an individual is nominated more than once, the selection committee will combine the information from both nomination forms to assess the nominee’s credentials.

Who is part of the selection committee?

The selection committee is comprised of staff members from the Department of State and the Governor’s Office.

How will the chosen winner be notified? Will I be notified as a nominator, regardless of whether or not my nominee was chosen for the award?

The recipient of the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award as well as the nominating party(s) will be notified by email regardless if they were chosen for the award or not.

What will the recipient receive in terms of awards and other forms of public recognition?

The recipient of the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award will receive an engraved award with the recipient’s name. The Secretary of State’s Office will recognize the recipient through a press release, on the SOS website, and on social media.

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