Pictured: Javier Garcia III,
Class of 2020
It is my honor to present the inaugural Jacob Green Memorial Prize. It is an honor that comes with tremendous sadness, for this prize was established in the wake of Jacob’s tragic death in November 2019. Jacob Green was a Race and Ethnic Studies major, who believed deeply in fighting for equality. His open, loving heart and inquisitive mind made Jacob a beloved member of the University of Redlands community. With his gracious smile, warmth and generous expressions of love, Jacob created a space where everyone could be seen, heard and valued.
Though heartbroken by this great loss, those of us who loved and worked with Jacob, wanted to keep his spirit alive and so established this prize, to honor students who promote the values that Jacob embodied – a commitment to racial justice, equality and leadership to build a loving inclusive community at the University of Redlands. We hope that this prize will pass the torch of racial justice that Jacob carried so well from one generation to the next.
This year we are proud to present the inaugural Jacob Green Memorial Prize to Javier Garcia III. This was an easy choice. From his first days here, Javi has dedicated his time and energy to supporting first generation students like himself. He has promoted social justice through his work at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. He has deepened his understanding of race and racism as a Race and Ethnic Studies major.
Beyond these qualities, it is fitting that Javi is awarded this prize simply because he was Jacob’s closest and dearest friend on campus. They were inseparable, and they always pushed each other to be better human beings. After Jacob’s passing, Javi played a healing role in the community. His tears showed people how to grieve, his hugs comforted those around him. This spring, still hurting from the loss, Javi sought healing through writing. His set of short narratives perfectly captured the beauty of their deep friendship, the laughter and love, and the unbearable pain.
Congratulations and thank you Javi for all you have done. Please take comfort in knowing that through this prize, you and Jacob will be linked together, forever.
Keith Osajima, Ph.D.
Chair of the Race and Ethnic Studies Program