New CUNY Scholarship honoring a civil rights icon unveiled by New York Governor

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Monday a new City University of New York Harry Belafonte Scholarship to honor the legacy of civil rights activist and world-renowned musician Harry Belafonte, who passed away earlier this year. The Governor made the announcement at the 2023 West Indian Day Parade.

“The son of Jamaican immigrants, Harry Belafonte was an incredible artist, activist, and voice for the people of New York,” Governor Hochul said. “To honor his legacy, this scholarship will open the door to new opportunities and help ensure more passionate and talented students can make their mark on the world, debt free.”

“Harry Belafonte was a giant of a man. He broke barriers and uplifted communities through the power of the arts and activism,” said Lieutenant Governor Delgado. “I thank Governor Hochul for honoring his legacy through investing in our youth, which will provide them the tools to inspire change themselves.”

This new scholarship will cover the full cost of attendance – including tuition, room and board, fees, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses – for five CUNY students who, like Harry Belafonte, demonstrate a commitment to social justice and the performing arts, have overcome significant challenges to pursue their dreams, and embody the experiences and principles that he represented. Applications will open in Spring 2024.

City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “CUNY thanks Governor Hochul for honoring the memory of Harry Belafonte with this generous scholarship that will help our students pursue educational paths that bring together the passions for the arts and social justice that he championed throughout his long and illustrious life.”

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Gina Belafonte, Daughter of Harry Belafonte, said, “We are absolutely honored and thrilled that New York State is recognizing the legacy of Harry Belafonte. How a high school dropout, his desire for learning, and the tools for deeper strategic understanding never ceased. By offering this opportunity to those who are deeply interested in furthering your education, and deepening their understanding of art and activism, and the role it plays in creating healthy communities is a profound recognition of his legacy. We want to thank Governor Hochul for shepherding this scholarship and ensuring young people get an opportunity to thrive.”

Harry Belafonte, the son of Jamaican immigrants, was a world-renowned musician, artist, and champion of the civil rights and social justice movements. Like so many New Yorkers, his parents worked hard to ensure he had the opportunity to make a difference in the world. This scholarship will help more students who have defied the odds succeed, create a lasting legacy, and make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers.

Source: Governor Hochul’s Press Office


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