All hail the 2019 SXSW Community Service Awards honorees!
The quietest party at South by Southwest might be the most important one.
The SXSW Service Community Awards lauds the quiet revolutionaries of technology and other endeavors, those who use their talents to make the world a measurably better place, and not in the bogus way that the tech moguls on Mike Judge’s on-target “Silicon Valley” inevitably boost their products.
On March 10, 2019, SXSW will recognize six persons and six groups during a free ceremony that requires no festival badge. The honorees join a total of 200 recipients who have earned the honor — as well as grants totaling up to $50,000 each year — over the course of two decades.
Some of this year’s honorees, such as Aideé Granados, Colorado River Alliance and StreetBooksATX, might already be familiar to Central Texans.
Probably the best way to share the news is to list the names and the descriptions of their work provided by SXSW.
Aideé Granados - Aideé Granados was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. At the end of 2014, Aideé became a certified as a Wellness Coach and founded Rosa Es Rojo, Inc., a nonprofit committed to educating Latinas on wellness and cancer prevention in America, starting in North Texas. There are no other wellness programs in North Texas reaching the Latino community in Spanish and using their very own cultural context. Over the last two years, Rosa Es Rojo has reached more than 420 families, equivalent to more than 3,800 hours of direct training.
Mauricio Villada Lopera - Mauricio Villada Lopera left his full time secure job at a leading bank in Colombia to help foster a radically positive change in the social sector ecosystem in Medellin. Deeply committed to working with marginalized communities of all backgrounds in Colombia, Mauricio and Beatriz Peña Vasquez created Expovoluntariado. The project, born out of social research, has impacted more than 120 social organizations in the country. Expovoluntariado hosts an event in the city of Medellin that brings together organizations and projects with volunteers who are willing to donate their time to transform the world.
Rwenshaun Miller - Mental health change agent Rwenshaun Miller is a therapist, author, and social entrepreneur. He is also the recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation award for Advancing Minority Mental Health. In 2013, Rwenshaun founded Eustress, Inc., a nonprofit organization that raises mental health awareness through educational and inspirational content, trainings, workshops, and annual multi-city “Let’s Talk About It” walks. Through Eustress, Rwenshaun sheds light on issues that affect mental health and provides tools and techniques to manage them.
Sheena McFeely - Author, creator, and motivational speaker Sheena McFeely has produced, directed, and distributed ASL Nook online, which has reached more than a million hits. Sheena has been featured on The Nate Berkus Talk Show, A&E’s Deaf Out Loud documentary, and more. Sheena’s work has received acclaims from Austin Woman Magazine, UpWorthy, Mental_Floss, and Ability Magazine. All in the name of authentic representation, awareness, and equality of Deaf people, Sheena is a proud Deaf woman who believes that doing gets you somewhere, while talking gets you nowhere.
Estella Sanchez - Founder and Executive Director of Sol Collective, Estella Sanchez is an artist, activist, educator, and organizer. With an MA in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Estella Sanchez has dedicated her life to empowering communities using the arts to cultivate the next generation of leaders both locally and globally. Over the past ten years Sol Collective has served as a multicultural hub for Northern California and beyond, working to support and cultivate artists, creative businesses, community groups, and arts programming.
Fran Tarr - Breaking Walls Founder and Director, Fran Tarr, is a renowned artist, Arts Educator and creative activist. Launched in 2011, Breaking Walls is a U.S.-based international youth empowerment movement that fosters global dialogue among the leaders of tomorrow by creating artistic, educational and community-building opportunities for youth to become empathetic, system changing leaders.
Born2Walk - Born2Walk aims to provide inexpensive, adjustable and modular below-knee prosthetics to developing countries free of cost. Through the use of 3-D modeling and printing, Born2Walk is able to custom make prosthetic pieces that are then combined to form a leg and most recently, feet.
Black Girls CODE - Since 2011, Black Girls CODE has been committed to providing girls from underrepresented communities access to technology and 21st century skills necessary to become tech leaders. Having reached more than 8,000 young women in 14 chapters around the world, Black Girls CODE’s organizational vision is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.
HRA Studios & Foundation - HRA Studios and Foundation (HRAF) provides music and arts outreach to treatment centers, clinics, schools, shelters, and individuals from ages 3 to 80. Program highlights include establishing a music program at a Tijuana orphanage, recording original music by a young cancer survivor at Hollywood's Capitol Studios, and donating over a thousand instruments and creative tools in our "Play It Forward" program. Recently, HRAF produced a song about the Parkland, Florida shooting that was written and performed by violence-affected youth from across the country.
Lights Camera Discover - Lights Camera Discover is an organization devoted to developing strategies and bringing out positive skill sets within the youth. Lights Camera Discover provides workshops to students throughout the country. Within each workshop, students learn various components of performing and digital arts. The organization teaches a variety of subjects, including acting, digital filmmaking, photography, screenwriting, digital editing, web design, motion graphics and more.
StreetBooks ATX - StreetBooksATX is a mobile lending library for members of the local community with no fixed address. An offshoot of the Portland, Oregon non-profit established in 2011, their mission is to cultivate compassionate inclusive communities through the love of literature. StreetBooks ATX aims to provide hope and encouragement to the frequently overlooked members of the Austin community by approaching the issue of displaced Americans through compassion and sharing of stories.
The Mobile River (Colorado River Alliance) - The Colorado River Alliance champions the long-term vitality of the Texas Colorado River through education and engagement with programs that reach over 14,000 students and community members annually. One of the Alliance’s main programs, the Mobile River, is a water-science-center-on-wheels that delivers hands-on aquatic science and water-stewardship education directly to 7th grade students. Its mobility allows the program to effectively bring a field trip to the students, arriving directly at middle schools in Austin and across the Texas Colorado River basin. The program features interactive STEM-based models and engaging, educational video games inside a futuristic 42-foot trailer.