by We the Youth of Detroit

Crystal Stewart, a Detroit-native, is this year’s recipient of the Dr. Chrystal G. Tibbs Humanitarian Youth Award! An award created to honor the legacy of an educator, activist, and former board member of the United Nations Association of Greater Detroit, Dr. Chrystal G. Tibbs.

Crystal says receiving this award came as a big surprise to her. She mentioned that this honor “affirms that even when I’m not always sure of what I am doing, that I’ve been doing something right.” Although a surprise to Crystal, her award comes as no surprise to us as she is more than deserving of such a high honor. It’s fitting that Crystal would be the recipient of an award dedicated to celebrating a woman who was equally passionate about social justice work as she is today.

Crystal began her journey into social justice sitting in an America History class at University Prep Science & Math High School. Where she became the co-president of the Social Justice Club. She recalled hearing a presentation from Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan (DAYUM) coordinator, Julia Cuneo, who later invited her to join We The People of Detroit (WPD) for a summer internship in 2017. She credits her achievement to DAYUM and WPD saying, “they are the reason why I am successful.” Yet, it is her parents’ support and excitement, which she says fuels her to keep going.

Crystal has since relocated to California, where she is studying diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles. She continues her social justice engagement advocating for better water rights. She has developed a strong passion for water rights, and she hopes to “shape policies that will bring clean and accessible water back to Detroit.” Though living out her passion in Los Angeles, Crystal feels a part of the activism taking place within the city of Detroit due to her involvement with WPD and DAYUM organizations. She hopes her success and desire to serve will be an inspiration to other young people to do the same.

Crystal advises young people aspiring to make a positive impact on the world to do what they think is right and to keep going. She believes that young people who want to make an impact on the world are already well on their way to doing just that. She says to “push back against feelings of discouragement or hopelessness… and if you get knocked down, reach out for help or support as soon as you feel like you need it.”

Crystal’s success reminds us to do good despite not knowing where it can lead you. It’s evident that if you follow the path your passions lead, your legacy will continue.

We the People of Detroit is dedicated to community coalition building and to the provision of resources that inform, train and mobilize the citizens of Detroit and beyond to improve their quality of life.

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