Mario Savio Award

Mario Savio Student Activist Award

The Mario Savio Student Activist Award was established to recognize a Sonoma County student who has shown a personal commitment to civil liberties, human rights and social justice. The recipient receives $500 from the chapter with the award. The award was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Mario Savio, to promote the values that Mario struggled to advance throughout his life, and to recognize and encourage our community’s student activists engaged in the struggle to build a more humane and just society.

Mario Savio first came to public notice as a spokesman for the Free Speech Movement while a student at the University of California, Berkeley. In his later years, Mario moved to Sonoma County where he became a loyal friend and active member of the Sonoma County Chapter of the ACLU, and a teacher of mathematics, physics and philosophy at Sonoma State University. He died in November 1996 in the middle of a struggle against university fee hikes that hurt working class students.

Mario never lost his love of poetry and debate, his willingness to admit his own doubts and to listen to another’s point of view, or his deep belief that this kind of dialogue is essential to building a more just world whose fruits would be shared by all.

Successful candidates for this award will have demonstrated leadership ability, creativity, and integrity in their activism. The recipient should possess the core spirit of moral courage that Mario Savio exemplifies.

Nominations for the Mario Savio Student Activist Award may be submitted at any time by filling out the Nomination Form. Anyone may nominate a candidate. The Mario Savio Student Activist Award Committee also may solicit nominations for student activists who have come to its attention.

Eligibility Criteria:

• Student must be attending a school located in Sonoma County.

Nominees should be:

• Engaged in activism for social change, promoting values of civil liberties, human rights, or social justice;

• Acting not alone, but within the context of an organization, a social movement, or a community effort;

• Considered by others within that context as an inspirational leader or motivating force;

• Willing to attend the ACLU of Sonoma County Awards Ceremony and Annual Dinner.

• Preference will be given to candidates who have outstanding academic records and the promise for continuing education and activism.

Mario Savio Student Activist Award Honorees

2015 Sandy Espino-Valenciano

2014 Jesús Guzmán

2011 Maggie Coshnear

2006 Dylan Alter

2005 Rhonda Balzarini

2004 Mitzila Valdes

2003 Joey Crottogini

2000 Jed Kinnison

1998 Steven Cozza

1997 Mette Adams