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Niagara Pride awards Jean Hopkins Memorial Scholarship to WNY high school graduates


Fri, Jun 9th 2023 12:45 pm

This month, Niagara Pride Inc. presented the Jean Hopkins Memorial Scholarship to Abdullah Moin of Bennett High School in Buffalo, and Bryn Dewey of North Tonawanda High School.

A press release stated, “This year had a number of strong and deserving applicants, however, the board of directors of Niagara Pride were incredibly impressed by Moin and Dewey’s accomplishments, character, and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.”

Dewey was president of North Tonawanda High School’s GSA organization. In that role, Dewey helped create and present educational topics to the group’s members. Recognizing the need for a safe and personal space for transgender and gender-nonconforming students, Dewey advocated for the creation of a gender-neutral bathroom at the school, resulting in the school board approving the implementation of this plan. This will be the first gender-neutral bathroom in the school.

Inspired by the pioneering work of Dr. Stanley H. Biber in the field of sex reassignment surgery and transgender health care, Dewey stated, “It is my goal to continue Dr. Biber’s crusade and be a catalyst to bring about change in terms of mitigating the dysphoria of trans people, by not only advocating for our community, but by spearheading innovative practices to modernize and transform this field of medicine. Overall, I am extremely excited at the prospect of a career in medicine, and look forward to dedicating my services to the WNY’s trans community in this capacity.”

While in high school, Dewey has been volunteering with a skilled nursing facility in order to gain clinical health care experience.

Moin only recently moved to the area, but already made a big impact on this school and the community. He joined the Bennett High School Diversity Club and as a member urged the group to use the money allocated for the purchase of Pride gear for the students at the school to purchase Pride items that could be sold with monies raised going to a local LGBTQ+ nonprofit. Moin and his peers raised over $300.

The press release stated, “Through his actions, Moin demonstrated a great deal of selflessness and concern for the greater WNY LGBTQ+ community.”

In his scholarship essay, Moin spoke about the challenges growing up in a religious household and how his friends were a great support for not only him, but for one another, as he learned about himself through his journey of self-discovery.

The press release stated, “Moin plans to pursue a career in astronomy and already is demonstrating an incredibly insightful view of the world.

He said, “There are so many paths that could diverge throughout a person's life with both failures and accomplishments. However, by the end of it, if that person knows they have changed the world for the better. They have made a positive impact on the world in such a unique way, no one but themselves could have done it, just by going through the world with the end goal of changing it. No matter how big or small, no matter how much or how little they achieved in comparison to others, just from the knowledge they know they have made the world a better place than when they found it, is what makes a successful person.”

The Jean Hopkins Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of Jean Hopkins, a life-long resident of Niagara Falls and fierce advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

The press release stated, “Jean devoted her life to helping other people, from helping her friends and relatives with projects around their houses, to being active in church and community activities, to working with several LGBTQ+ organizations. She served on the board of trustees at First Congregational United Church of Christ, as a deacon at Riverside Presbyterian Church, and as president of the Eagles Club.

“Jean became involved with the Heart, Love and Soul soup kitchen and food pantry, which was the organization she was most honored to serve. Jean was instrumental in the formation and ultimate creation of two WNY LGBTQ+ organizations, Rainbow Seniors Visible and Proud and Niagara Pride Inc., where Jean served on the board of directors until her passing.

“Jean was particularly proud of Niagara Pride’s work to assist LGBTQ+ youth and with its work with Niagara County churches and agencies. Jean Hopkins made Western New York, and particularly Niagara County, a more inclusive community, and a better place for all people to live, be respected, and accepted for their authentic selves.”

The Jean Hopkins Memorial Scholarship was established in 2021 and consists of an annual $500 award to help aid in the costs of pursuing educational opportunities beyond high school. This scholarship is aimed primarily at benefiting those WNY LGBTQ+ young adults, and allies, who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing social justice, reducing inequities, and increasing the overall health of their community.

Niagara Pride will be accepting applications for the 2024 award starting in spring 2024.

Niagara Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ individuals and families in Niagara County and WNY. It offers educational programming, engages in charitable works, and offers social programming to create a safe and welcoming environment for all those who identify as LGBTQQI+ living throughout WNY.

For more information about Niagara Pride and its services/events, visit www.niagarapride.org, email [email protected], for check them out on Facebook.

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