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Slave descendants eligible for scholarship from Episcopal Diocese of Long Island

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The Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island is championing equity in education with their latest scholars program.

According to their website, Black, African-American and Caribbean-American students who are descendants of enslaved people are encouraged to apply for the “Barbara C. Harris Scholars Program.”

To qualify, applicants must be high school seniors or currently enrolled in an accredited college or vocational school, and reside within the Diocese of Long Island (which includes Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk). 

The deadline to apply is April 22. Students must submit a completed application, high school transcripts and two letters of recommendation to HarrisScholars@dioceseli.org.

Scholarships will be presented by the Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island, on June 19, which marks Juneteenth, at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City.

“The scholarships are offered to support children from families who were disenfranchised by the racist policies of real estate red-lining and discriminatory hiring practices within the area of our diocese,” Bishop Provenzano said. “This is an essential step, as we seek to address the long-practiced sin of racism that has existed in our midst.”

Students can apply for up to $5,000 per semester for their studies. Successful candidates will have demonstrated scholarly achievement, strong leadership skills, community involvement and a. strong commitment to continuing their education. 

Applicants are not required to be Episcopalian to apply.

The scholarship is named in honor of the Rev. Barbara C. Harris, who passed away in 2020 at 90 years old. She was a descendent of slaves, as well as the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion. 

As a civil rights activist, teacher, leader and visionary, known specifically for her advocacy for women, Black people, and the LGBTQ+ community, Harris is remembered for her historical impact on the Episcopal Church. 

According to members of the Diocese, the formation of the Reparations Committee is a step toward transforming the Episcopal Church into an “anti-racist church and to work toward healing, reconciliation, and a restoration of wholeness to the family of God.”

“We know that reparations must include more than scholarships. Reparations can take numerous forms, such as settlements, land-based compensations, apologies and truth-telling,” said Penny Allen Grinage, chair of the Reparations Committee.

“However, this scholarship is a great start in helping to level the playing field for those who have been disadvantaged due to the color of their skin,” he added.

For more information, visit The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island’s website.

Featured image: The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.