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Sievers '18 Receives Social Justice Award

Photo of Seattle Academy Ben Sievers '18 Social Justice Award 2020

In a recent effort to support productive discussion, analysis, and activism in the fight for racial justice, Pitzer College, a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution, created a Racial Justice Initiative. Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver’s Racial Justice Initiative seeks programs and initiatives that focus on Black diaspora, criminalization, racial bias, racialized violence, policing, abolition, social movements, and racial justice. Programs that address these issues have the opportunity to win a Racial Justice Initiative Award and funding. Seattle Academy is proud to congratulate our very own Ben Sievers ’18 on receiving the award. 

As COVID-19 intensified, Ben recognized and sought to address a widespread inequality that faced society: the existing health disparities experienced by minorities. Put bluntly, Black and Latinx people die of COVID-19 at twice the rate of white people in the United States. The disparity is further amplified among those who experience COVID-19 while incarcerated or living in rehabilitation facilities. Ben is pursuing a research study evaluating whether these populations at higher risk for COVID-19 can conduct a simple lateral-flow test, with the goal of helping change federal regulations to enable self-testing. Ben believes that people should be allowed to conduct their own rapid tests and has set out to test his hypotheses in the Pitzer student population and the population of a women’s rehabilitation facility in California. Enabling rapid, frequent, and inexpensive self-testing has the potential to save lives--particularly those disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

Congratulations on your visionary research initiative, Ben!