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A young Wilmington native who left a big mark on the state is honored for her work

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

The John Lewis Youth Leadership Award goes to a Wilmington native who left a big mark on the state.

The award was established in 2021 in honor of Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis. It aims to recognize young people actively working to create positive change in their communities.

Tariah Hyland is one of the founders of the Delaware Black Student Coalition, a group that advocated for House Bill 198 in 2021.

She is credited as a co-author of the bill, which requires Delaware schools to teach Black History curriculum.

The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker, says Hyland is more than deserving of the award.

“It signifies leadership and that is who Tariah is. She embodies leadership, love, and service,” said Dorsey Walker.

Now a Howard University junior, Hyland continues her mentoring work in Delaware while serving as president of the Howard chapter of Black Girls Vote - an organization that strives to empower Black women to use their voice politically.

She says her work focuses on educating her peers on campus about voting, and registering students to vote.

“And that’s just been really inspiring work - to be able to directly have that grassroots impact on young people, and educating them on why it’s so important to understand what’s going on in our political environment. Because I always say ‘you may not care about politics but politics care about you,’” said Hyland. “So that’s something that I try to consistently remind my peers of when they feel disengaged from politics, or they feel they don’t have a role in it. Because they do. So that’s been something that’s really been my personal duty, especially this year.”

The John Lewis Youth Leadership Award was established in 2021 by the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Hyland is the second Delawarean to receive it.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.