Honolulu, Hawai‘i: The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (ACLU of Hawai‘i) is excited to announce the two recipients of the Tom Humphreys and Allan Wang Civil Rights Fund student scholarship: Jessie Hearther as the recipient of the high school portion and Jamie Shugars as recipient of the college/graduate school portion.

A resident of Maui and student at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College, 20-year-old Shugars proposed an art-related project called “Sharing Rainbows.” Meant to spread awareness and foster a safe, welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people, Shugars will create a sticker decal for local businesses to display in support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Jamie Shugars said, “I feel so honored to be selected for the Tom Humphreys and Allan Wang scholarship. I’m very excited to kick off this project to create a more welcoming Hawai‘i.”

Hearther, a 16-year-old high school student and budding filmmaker from O‘ahu, also proposed an arts project. Hearther aims to produce a short film about the life of a bisexual teenager with hopes that it will bring bisexual representation to the media industry.

Jessie Hearther said, “Thank you so much for the amazing opportunity! I look forward to showcasing an authentic story that queer teenagers can relate to and feel represented accurately by. When I got the phone call that my project was chosen, I was so excited that I was jumping and dancing as silently as I could. Everyone else in the room was looking at me, but I was so excited. As a high school student who has never had the privilege to have a budget on a film, this really means a tremendous deal to me. I can’t wait to tell more LGBT+ stories.”

Established in November 2011 by Allan Wang in memory of his late husband Tom Humphreys, scientist, businessman and professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Tom Humphreys and Allan Wang Civil Rights Fund grants two students cash gifts of $3,900 to be used toward a proposed project idea slated at furthering the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people in Hawai‘i.

Allan Wang said: “I’m excited to see where Jamie and Jessie take their projects and I look forward to watching as they make their impact on the local LGBTQ+ community. While we could only choose two winners, I was impressed by the creativity and passion expressed by each young activist who applied to the student scholarship and I feel confident in posterity’s dedication to LGBTQ+ rights.”

The scholarship recipients were chosen by a committee including: Allan Wang, establisher of the fund and local activist; Marianita Lopez, President of the ACLU of Hawai‘i Board of Directors; Kim Coco Iwamoto, ACLU of Hawai‘i board member and local LGBTQ+ activist and pioneer; and Joshua Wisch, Executive Director of the ACLU of Hawai‘i.


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