This past weekend the first annual Jason Solomon Rise Above gala took place at Alumni Auditorium at the University of Windsor where the renamed Jason Solomon Rise Above scholarship was given to a fourth-year student.
The gala was planned by the Caribbean and African Organization of Students (CAOS) in honour of Jason Solomon, a CAOS member, who passed away in August 2018 due to gun violence.
Every year, the UWSA gives out specific scholarships to qualified full-time undergrad students. One of those scholarships called ‘Rise Above’ which is for racialized students at the university, was renamed the “Jason Solomon Rise Above” Scholarship after hearing of the tragedy.
Malik Nembhard, a fourth-year student with a double major in Criminology and Sociology and a minor in Social Justice was awarded the $1000 scholarship.
Nembhard says that he feels blessed and grateful to win the award.
“Being recognized for some of my achievements here at the University of Windsor is rewarding in itself, let alone receiving a monetary award as well. It is truly a blessing,” said Nembhard.
In order to be considered for the scholarship, students would have to submit a one page, double spaced letter to the president of the UWSA explaining why they think they deserve the award.
Below is an excerpt of what Nembhard wrote in his letter:
“While I still have breath in my body I refuse to live below my potential. I know what I bring to the table; I don’t fear racial prejudice because I know who I am. I am counter culture…I know that I possess the attributes for a candidate of great consideration. My upbringing is similar to Jason’s.”
While some students may put $1000 to paying their tuition or knowing that they have extra money of their own to spend on themselves, Nembhard is doing something different.
“I plan on donating 10 per cent of it. The rest will stay at BMO’s house. It’s just more fiscal security… that’s what money is right? Just warrants us access to things in its exchange. It shouldn’t change you,” said Nembhard.
The award was given to Nembhard by UWSA executives and Jason’s mother. He speaks on how it felt to meet and speak to Jason’s mother.
“It was spiritual. A Christian mother pouring into a young Christian man. It was mentally conflicting at first hearing a mother speak of her child that was taken from her,” said Nembhard. “It was mentally conflicting because she was speaking from a position of grace, mercy and power. She knows the impact her son made on the world. She knows that Jason lived his life with the utmost boldness. She knows Jason received her lessons.
The fourth-year student feels Jason is in a better place.
“God has Jason, and he is more alive and saucier than he was before. His spirit will live on through the enormous legacy that was divinely assigned to him,” said Nembhard.
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