For the last 21 years, the SXSW Community Service Awards have honored six individuals and six organizations for their dedication to creating positive and lasting change in their communities. In light of their exceptional commitment to community service – these honorees will be awarded grants totaling $60,000 in addition to complimentary SXSW registrations in recognition of their exemplary efforts.
“The SXSW Community Service Awards honorees are creating a better and brighter future by improving the lives of underserved voices across the globe,” said Chief Brand Officer Jann Baskett. “We’re privileged to present them with grants to continue their work, and look forward to hosting them at SXSW this March.”
The Individual Awards recognize the difference one person can make in a community, while the Organization Awards honor groups that benefit the various communities SXSW serves. The Awards were created in 1999 to celebrate the life and work of SXSW Interactive co-founder, Dewey Winburne. Honorees are selected by an Austin-based committee and SXSW staff, who review nominations based on the qualities of community, compassion, care, and education that Winburne brought to his tenure at SXSW.
Grant recipients will be honored in a ceremony during the beginning of SXSW on March 14, 2020 in the JW Marriott, Salon E. The ceremony is free and open to the public and does not require a SXSW badge to attend.
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2020 SXSW Community Service Awards Honorees
Kanchan Amatya – Kanchan Amatya is an award-winning Nepalese social entrepreneur, social justice advocate, gender specialist, and UN Women Global Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment. She is the founder and executive director of the Sustainable Fish Farming Initiative (SFFI), a social enterprise that assists rural female farmers to combat extreme hunger and poverty by providing training, microloans, and assistance to develop sustainable enterprises. Amatya is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Honor Roll Award, 2019 Truman Award for Excellence in International Development, 2019 Diana Award, and more.
Antionette Carroll – Antionette Carroll is the founder, president, and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, a nonprofit educating and deploying youth to challenge racial and health inequities impacting Black and Latinx populations. Carroll is also the co-founder of the Design + Diversity Conference and Fellowship. Through this work, she is the recipient of several recognitions including being named an ADL and Aspen Institute Civil Society Fellow, Roddenberry Fellow for Civil Rights, Echoing Green Global Fellow, TED Fellow, ADCOLOR Innovator and Essence Magazine Woke 100.
Tarik Daniels – Tarik Daniels is an AfroQueer writer, performer, and mental health and HIV activist. Daniels is the founder and executive director of Whatsinthemirror?, a social movement that provides mental health awareness and suicide prevention through art, advocacy, and affirming care to communities of color. Currently serving his second term as a City Commissioner for Austin’s LGBTQ Quality Of Life advisory board, Darik is also a recipient of Austin’s Under 40 Award in 2019 for Arts and Entertainment and hosts a weekly black queer lifestyle podcast show What Works For Us.
Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone – Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone is a multimedia storyteller through projects such as Uplifted.tv, Riders Against the Storm, NefrFreshr, and events such as RAS DAY Festival and Body Rock ATX. In 2019, Chaka launched DAWA, Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action. DAWA, meaning medicine in Swahili, will provide funds for people of color experiencing mental health crises, with a priority to artists, musicians, social workers, educators, and public servants. In 2020, the fund also intends to create a monthly space for the public to receive free yoga classes, reiki, massage, and acupuncture treatments in an accessible community venue.
Amanda Nguyen – Amanda is the CEO and founder of Rise, a nonprofit that advocates for the civil rights of sexual violence survivors. Nguyen penned her own civil rights into existence and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, after having to navigate the broken criminal justice system after her own rape. She is named on Forbes 30 Under 30, a Top 100 Leading Global Thinker by Foreign Policy, Young Woman of the Year by Marie Claire, The Tempest’s #1 Woman of Color Trailblazer and is also a recipient of the 2019 Heinz Award and a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
John Vitti – John Vitti, a veteran journalist in Boston, is the founder of nonprofit Headliners in Education. Vitti created online student journalism programs in Watertown, Mass. public schools. Starting with the Cunniff Kids News in 2007, he now runs online papers in five district schools, impacting more than 225 students. As an advocate for the educational opportunities student journalism provides, Vitti advises students and teachers in over 125 Greater Boston schools.
Austin Bat Cave – Austin Bat Cave is a creative community whose writing programs empower students to find their voice and share their stories. By implementing an engaging curriculum and working with students one-on-one, Austin Bat Cave volunteers inspire young writers with a passion for reading, writing, and learning.
Austin African-American Book Festival – The Austin African-American Book Festival is a community gathering and cultural celebration of African-American writers and their work. With literary-based programming that includes author talks, scholarly discussions, children’s activities, and a vendor marketplace, the Austin African-American Book Festival promotes intellectual achievement and art as catalysts for critical thinking, activism, and positivity.
Latinitas – Latinitas works with young girls of color to combat stereotypes in media and technology not only based on gender, but also in culture. Latinitas provides direct digital media and technology training and services to adolescent girls across Texas, recently expanding to Northern California. Through clubs, camps, workshops, conferences, and its own coding and digital producer certification programs, Latinitas builds inclusivity not only through innovative lessons in STEM, but by doing so through a media literacy lens that addresses stereotypes, social-emotional learning, and self-advocacy.
Made In Her Image – Made In Her Image is a non-profit movement striving towards social equity in the film, media and entertainment industry. Made In Her Image serves youth aged 8 to 18 by curating engaging programming to foster media literacy and empowerment. Dedicated to the advancement of females in film, media, and technology, Made In Her Image strives to create and shape the film pioneers and revolutionaries of tomorrow by giving girls and women of color the opportunity to create their vision through programming, camps, workshops and more.
Miracle Messages – Miracle Messages is a nonprofit reunion service for those experiencing homelessness to reconnect with their loved ones. To date, Miracle Messages has reunited 266 families with an average time disconnected of 15 years, using a mobile app, online and paper-based forms, and 1-800-MISS-YOU hotline. Eighty percent of delivered messages have been positively received, and dozens of reunions have resulted in getting a client off-the-streets at a fraction of the cost of other interventions. Miracle Messages has been featured in The New York Times, Brut, NowThis, and 600 other publications.
Musicians On Call – Musicians On Call (MOC) is a nonprofit organization that connects musicians to hospitals, bringing the healing power of music to patients who are battling illness and injury, along with their families and caregivers. MOC’s nationally renowned Bedside Performance Program delivers local volunteer musicians room-to-room to offer patient-requested live music performances, creating meaningful and transformative experiences that relieve stress, improve mood, and supplement the recovery process for patients of all backgrounds and conditions. Through 20 years of operation, MOC has grown to become the nation’s largest provider of live music to healthcare facilities by reaching over 760,000 total individuals in the hospital and serving an average of 75,000 patients per year across 20 cities.
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Photo courtesy of Musicians On Call
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