The award is named after the late Bayard Rustin, a civil rights leader who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and was an organizer for the March on Washington and other protests.
Stuart Liburd, Jr., president of Tech’s NSBE chapter said Slade was as deserving recipient of the first Bayard Rustin Award as she exemplifiles Rustin’s commitment and “behind the scenes” work.
“In Darnishia’s time here at Michigan Tech, she has helped elevate sudents, faculty and the whole University community to obtain a level of utmost excellence that empowers us so we can be our best selves.”
Calling the award the biggest compliment she has ever received, Slade says she is still taken aback by the award. “This means so much to me because it came from the students.” Slade says she feels a connection with Rustin in that his work, like hers, is essentially grass roots. “He didn’t mind getting his hands dirty. And he never gave up on his convictions that minorities in the United States could, and would, succeed.
In remarks upon accepting the award at the MLK Banquet, Slade said she feels it’s important to “pay it forward” to students because of mentors she’s had, such as Betty Chavis, Gloria Melton and the late Inetta Harris.
Slade is an alumna of Michigan Tech and is currently a PhD student in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors.
Published in Tech Today, January 30, 2019 by Mark Wilcox