Kent State Names Inaugural Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship Recipients
(Left, winner Chloe McCrone, Right, Alan Canfora)
Kent State University has awarded the inaugural Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship to social justice activists and incoming Kent State students Kaedynce Kasiewicz, from McKinley High School in Niles, Ohio, and Chloe McCrone, from Memorial High School in Campbell, Ohio.
The Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship celebrates Canfora's life, his Kent State experience and the importance of social justice and advocacy to society. On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State demonstrators, killing four students and wounding nine, including Canfora. He was a tireless leader in the fight to protect and publicize the legacy of May 4.
Kasiewicz, a survivor of childhood abuse and neglect, volunteers with a local ministry to feed and clothe the poor and has become an online ally via 7 Cups, an online emotional health support service. She is passionate about combating bullying and social injustice. She is also a leader in her high school's drama club and choir and is very involved in the Italian and French clubs.
"Through majoring in journalism, I hope to eventually have a voice that will be heard by the public. I wish to advocate for those who went through what I did,” Kasiewicz wrote in her application essay. “The neglect and abuse I had to endure throughout my entire childhood have affected me throughout my teenage years, and because of my PTSD, it will continue to affect me for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference. What happened to me was terrible, but what I choose to do because of it can truly make a difference."
Kasiewicz’s “resilience in the face of early-life trauma parallels the trauma that fundamentally shaped the activism of Alan and other May 4 survivors,” the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship Committee noted. She thanked the committee, saying “I’m so thankful that I’ve received this scholarship, not only because it will help me greatly, but because it lets me know that all the work I’ve put in over the years helping other people has paid off in more ways than one. What goes around truly does come back around.”
An exploratory student, McCrone's social justice activism began with her interest in learning more about why Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in her freshman year in high school. Her research into the Black Lives Matter movement and interest in fighting racism and police brutality was fueled by her love of literature. She is a founding member of her school's chapter of Project Lit, a national student-led network of book groups that introduces youth to culturally and socially relevant books. McCrone built a small library to distribute books to needy youth in the Youngstown community. McCrone raised funds for club expenses and was selected to represent the local chapter at the Nashville Project Lit Community Summit.
"Project Lit slowly became more than a book club to me. The books I was reading were not just books, the characters not just characters,” McCrone wrote in an essay about the importance of Project Lit and the power of reading. “The books were real-life situations and the characters I was reading about were the people around me: my classmates, my peers, and even my friends. It is rare that in one of these books you cannot relate to a certain character, and if you do not, then you are at least being educated about someone who is different from you."
About the Canfora Scholarship, McCrone had this to say: “I am very grateful to the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship Committee for this opportunity, and I am honored to have been selected as I resonated deeply with Alan's story and his work.”
“Chloe's passions are well aligned with Alan’s passion for librarianship and literature,” the scholarship committee noted.
Michael Solomon, a 1974 Kent State graduate, established the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship in December 2020 to honor Canfora’s life and legacy. This scholarship provides up to two years of renewable support to two Kent Campus incoming freshmen or transfer students who have a demonstrated interest in social justice and advocacy and a demonstrated commitment of care and compassion toward others.
Donations to the scholarship fund in Canfora’s name may be made via the Alan Canfora Activism Scholarship page. For more information about this year’s May 4 Commemoration, visit the May 4 51st Commemoration website.