Nominations Open for Delaware’s 2023 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award

Delaware Secretary of State

DELAWARE — The Delaware Secretary of State has begun accepting nominations for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award. The award recognizes a gifted, civic-minded young Delawarean who has demonstrated leadership abilities, has a passion for social justice, and is improving the quality of life in their community.

“John Lewis was a heroic American who changed the course of history,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “I’m honored to have the privilege to present this prestigious award to a young Delawarean who has demonstrated a commitment and passion for social and community change. It is my hope that this award continues to inspire young folks to make a difference in their community.”

The John Lewis Youth Leadership Award was established by the National Association of Secretaries of State to honor the extraordinary accomplishments of the late Congressman John Lewis. His courageous achievements during the Civil Rights Movement and his long tenure of public service have inspired and will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come.

In 1961, at the age of 21, Lewis was one of the original thirteen Freedom Riders. In 1963, Lewis was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington and also one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the march. In 1965, Lewis helped lead the Selma to Montgomery marches. The first march took place on March 7, 1965 at the Edmund Pettus Bridge where unarmed marchers were attacked by state troopers. The event later became known as “Bloody Sunday” and was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis’ activism at an early age continued throughout his life and he served as a U.S. Congressman for 33 years until he passed away in 2020.

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Eligibility requirements for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award include:

  • The recipient must be a resident of the State of Delaware.
  • The recipient must be 25 years or younger by the close of the application submission window of October 20, 2023.
  • The recipient is recognized in their community for being civic-minded and improving the quality of life in their community.
  • The recipient has shown a meaningful commitment to address civil rights issues, including but not limited to voting rights, and to authentically bring about positive change in his or her community.
    • Examples could include youth leadership in a specific project or program, advocacy or even literature as the Congressman also won a National Book Award for young people’s literature.

Nominations for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award will be accepted beginning on September 5th through October 20th, 2023. An award recipient will be announced in November 2023.

Karelin Torres was the recipient of the 2022 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award. She was the first individual in Delaware to be honored with this award. To learn more about her civic engagement, visit

To learn more about the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award or to nominate a young individual, visit

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