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Rev. Cotton essay contest winners honored
black history month

The message of Monday’s Lathrop City Council meeting and the issuance of a proclamation honoring February as Black History month was not lost on Harman Garcha.

The Lathrop High School student and member of the city’s Youth Advisory Commission was one of two students honored on Monday by the Lathrop Black Caucus as recipients of scholarships through the Reverend Maurice Cotton Essay Contest.

From highlighting the sacrifices made by civil rights leaders that laid the foundation for a more equitable society to putting the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into action, Garcha recited her essay to the council and to the community as part of the annual issuance of the proclamation spearheaded by Minnie Diallo and other members of the Lathrop Black Caucus.

And seeing young people that get that message, Diallo said, is what drives the organization with deep roots in the community that is moving towards becoming a full-fledged non-profit.

“As an organization we want to foster a sense of inclusion in this community, and when we get black students that move here from the Bay Area we want them to feel like they have a sense of community here,” Diallo said. “A lot of students are surprised when they move here and attend Lathrop High School and see that we have a Black Student Union, and all of that adds to the sense of inclusion that we want people to feel when they come to Lathrop.

“That’s the spirit of this month and this effort to get young people to reflect on the impacts of the civil rights movement.”

In addition to the Lathrop City Council honoring Garcha and Jasmine Smith – both of whom will receive a $150 scholarship for their winning submissions – the 2nd Vice Chair of the Stockton chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Attorney Jerome Clay, was on hand to congratulate the winners and the city’s effort to highlight the contributions of black Americans during the month of February.

Supporting the scholarship efforts were Minnie Cotton, Cottontail Daycare, H.E.D. Conference, Cotton Transportation, and Dorothy Benjamin.


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.