Tag Archives: Ana Maria Fernandez

Staples Grads CARE

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, many social media users observed “Blackout Tuesday” by changing their cover photos to black squares.

Max Herman was one. The 2019 Staples High School graduate was amazed at how many friends and people he followed did the same.

Max Herman

But he felt compelled to do more. The Vanderbilt University student — a double major in computer science, and the communication of science and technology, with minors in business and vocal performance — wondered what he could do.

An actor and singer at Staples, he realized fellow Players and musicians could help.

Max enlisted the help of Natasha Johnson, a 2020 Staples grad headed to Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania to concentrate in marketing or finance, and Anna Maria Fernandez, another recently graduated Player who will double major in theater and dance at Muhlenberg College.

They created  CARE. Its mission is to “educate, raise awareness, and expunge the inherent, deeply rooted issues surrounding racial inequity in voting and education in our community,” with a focus on “the next generation of young people.”

Natasha Johnson

The organizers created an online library that illustrates decades of injustices, unveil hidden biases, and challenge people to “ask themselves uncomfortable questions regarding their own relationship with race.”

Resources include books, articles, videos, podcasts, petitions and links.

“We decided to tackle racial inequity with a local lens,” Max, Natasha and Anna Maria say. “We feel it is critical to first acknowledge the issues that exist in our own community before undertaking the arduous task of stitching up our divided nation.”

So they’ve teamed up with 3 nearby organizations that target racial disparities in voting and education: Bridgeport-based Connect-Us and Faith Acts, and Project Morry.

They’re the beneficiaries of a virtual concert this Sunday (August 9, 7:30 p.m.)

Anna Maria Fernandez

Professional musicians and Fairfield County teens will perform selections by black artists, based on the theme of “change.”

The talent so far incluldes Kid Sistr, Niki Harris, Jacob Heimer, Riley Wells, Camille Foisie, Mia Kobylinski, Anna Maria Fernandez, Jake Greenwald, Avery Smith and Max Herman.

There will be brief remarks by leaders of CARE’s 3 partner organizations too.

Donors of any amount (click here) will be sent a link. The goal is $20,000.

What a great way to show they — and we — care.