On February 1, ZSR's Incoming Executive Director Mo Green received North Carolina A&T State University's 2016 Human Rights Medal during its 56th Sit-In Anniversary Breakfast. The breakfast is held in honor of the "Greensboro Four" – four A&T freshmen who made history on February 1, 1960 by sitting at a Woolworth's white-only lunch counter in Greensboro waiting for service.
Since 2001, the Human Rights Medal has been awarded annually to recognize individuals who have worked to correct social injustice and have significantly contributed to the betterment of the world.
In announcing the award, A&T described Green as "a long time educator whose focus has been to provide all of our children regardless of race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, or ability with a quality education that could propel them toward greatness."
In Green's acceptance speech, he stated, "I agree with many who have said that the education of our youth is the most important civil rights issue of our day. So I believe that this award recognizes the great work of over 10,000 employees of Guilford County Schools and the leadership of the school system, the members of the Guilford County Board of Education, in addressing this civil rights issue.
In particular, I think this award recognizes the amazing work of our educators who toll in obscurity and often without the respect they deserve;
It recognizes all of our teachers who use every method possible and necessary to unlock each student's unique gifts;
The curriculum specialists who design engaging sample lessons for their colleagues to use;
The educators who, for minimal, if any additional pay, lead athletic, extracurricular and co-curricular groups, programs and events before school, after school, in the evenings and on weekends;
The educators who are attempting to explore issues of race;
The teachers who seem to get that extra spark in their eyes when they work with students on some experiment;
The music teachers who literally sing along with their students, imploring them to sing great melodies;
The principals and other educational leaders who guide their staffs towards educational excellence; and
The exceptional children teachers who beam so brightly when one of their students accomplishes something, no matter how big or small;
Finally, I accept this medal with the earnest hope that it will inspire others who are like me, those who could never truthfully claim to be an educator, to remember that we must not lend our voice to the chorus of those who choose to belittle and berate educators, but rather to do everything inside and outside our spheres of influence to return educators to their rightful place of utmost significance in our civilization, a high place where they will be revered and can, without hesitation, positively impact the most important civil rights issue of our time."
The Human Rights Medal is one of the highest honors the University bestows upon an individual.