By Kathy Chouteau
Kimyatta Newby of San Pablo has been honored as Contra Costa County’s 2021 Student Humanitarian of the Year. The Middle College High School alum and Howard University freshman—currently attending classes virtually—was recognized during the Jan. 19 Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting in a video presentation as part of its Martin Luther King, Jr. 2021 Virtual Celebration. She was also publicly recognized for her achievements by the City of San Pablo, which called Newby “a true inspiration to our community.”
In the video, County District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis remarked that Newby “has demonstrated a passion for leadership, public service and advocacy in her community, inspiring her peers and adults alike.”
In commending Newby, Burgis highlighted her service on the San Pablo Youth Commission, involvement in her high school’s Black and Latino Student Union leadership, as well as her facilitation of youth-led workshops where she used her voice to “inspire others to get involved in civic and community activities.” Notably, Newby also organized a peaceful George Floyd solidarity panel and protest last summer that attracted more than 1,000 attendees.
Burgis shared some of the student’s own words, which were a call to action for others: “We’re tired and we shouldn’t have to die for people to listen. Begin talking to your children, your parents, your peers and other people around you. We can support and listen to each other as a community, and grow as a society.”
For her part, Newby expressed some surprise at receiving her honor, especially given that she had received pushback for her outspokenness and activism in high school. She said she believes she has simply been “following in the footsteps” of the Civil Rights leaders who came before her and said her award makes her feel as if she’s “a part of something bigger and beautiful.”
Click here to see the video featuring Newby, whose comments occur at the 38:00 mark.