Junior Redwood Mary is one of two students who received the new Ronald Dellums Scholarship, named after a former congressman, in honor of her involvement and activism within the Oakland community.
“It came as a surprise,” Redwood Mary said.
She also commented that she would use her time at Mills in spirit of this award.
Although she has been involved in a wide range of volunteer programs and committees, such as AmeriCorps and the Department of Pesticide Regulation, she said that she did not see herself as an activist, but “as someone who is an active citizen. Everyone needs to participate in their community.”
Redwood Mary became focused on public policy and the environment in 1991 when she became ill during a visit to a summer arts program in Humbolt. She was bed-ridden due to the toxins emitted from a nearby pulp mill.
Redwood Mary said that she became “deeply aware of things” after the illness and directed her life distinctly toward community service thereafter.
“I am honored to win a scholarship named after such an amazing man. This man stood for his own truth. I’m very humbled,” she said.
The award was created by a Mills alumna to honor Ronald Dellums, a prominent figure in Congress. His career focused on community concerns in both social justice and economy.
Dellums’ supporters believe he has been given little press attention for his ideas, but he was well respected by both sides of the political spectrum for his honesty.
According to the vice president of institutional advancement, Sally Randel, because the scholarship is endowed, there will be more money for its recipients each year.
“It will not reach its ideal amount for another three or four years,” she said.
She also said that when the endowment peaks, “it will be generous and will last for generations.”
The other scholarship winner is Mills senior Amanda Karg, who was not available for comment.