Taylor Center announces recipient of 2021-22 George Floyd Fellowship
The St. Olaf College Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion has named Kay Kay Lewis ’22 the 2021–22 recipient of the George Floyd Fellowship for Social Change.
The purpose of the George Floyd Fellowship is to directly support the advancement and development of the Black/African-American community in the United States whose populations experience the social, political, and economic barriers that created the conditions leading to the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
Through this fellowship, students develop a yearlong project that focuses on advancing the work of racial justice, social justice, and equity. Lewis will develop a project titled “Lovin’ the Skin I’m In.” She will produce a fashion show that gives Black designers, models, makeup artists, and stylists an opportunity to come together to celebrate their identity.
“With this fashion show I want to use our strength and our love as a community to remember that our skin is beautiful, our hearts are beautiful, and we will continue to grow with each other as a community no matter what is going on in our world,” Lewis says.
As a Black woman who has attended predominantly white schools her entire life, Lewis says she’s always struggled with being seen as “less than” and had to prove herself in academics and athletics.
“As I got older, I started to love the skin I’m in,” Lewis says. “I started to focus on how I can educate young Black women to love themselves and know that they are more than what other people say they are or what they may see on social media.”
As I got older, I started to love the skin I’m in. I started to focus on how I can educate young Black women to love themselves and know that they are more than what other people say they are or what they may see on social media.Kay Kay Lewis ’22
Lewis, who is majoring in exercise science with concentrations in race and ethnic studies and management studies, is a member of the St. Olaf women’s basketball team. In her free time she also works with third and fourth grade girls basketball teams because she believes she can set a powerful example for other young women of color.
“Them being able to see another Black woman play college basketball in the same position they are in is something that I wish I could’ve seen. So I want them to be able to have a role model,” Lewis says.
Lewis shares how basketball has provided her with a support network, lifelong friendships, and leadership skills in this recent St. Olaf News feature.
St. Olaf committed $100,000 last June to establish the George Floyd Fellowship for Social Change, and donors provided a matching endowment. That funding, combined with support from the Johnson Family Opportunity Fund, enabled the Taylor Center to name four fellows in the program’s inaugural year. Those students — Isaac Coutier ’22, Tashonna Douglas ’21, Dezzy Newell ’22, and Joshua Wyatt ’21 — recently wrapped up their projects. Read more about their projects here:
The George Floyd Fellowship is coordinated by the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion, which aims to foster an inclusive environment across the intersections of race and identity that students bring to St. Olaf.