Cedric Davis shows his strength in every aspect of his life. In recognition of Davis's work to demonstrate his non-traditional strength, the Men Can Stop Rape (MCSR) organization awarded him as the youth honoree for their 5th Annual Frederick Douglass Men of Strength Award.
The award and the MCSR organization focus on redefining what masculinity is, according to MCSR Communications Intern Jeb Butler. "Our organization empowers male youth and the institutions that serve them to work as allies with women in preventing rape and other forms of men's violence," said Butler. "The award honors men who are dedicated to peacefully combating violence, more specifically against women."
Davis won the award for the many different outlets he uses to show his strength. "Cedric was nominated for both his involvement in Blair's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), but also for his community service efforts and his unique outlook on traditional masculinity," said Butler.
Among his accomplishments are being president of Blair's GSA, and a participant in Teens for Peace, the national Gay-Lesbian-Straight-Education Network (GLSEN), Blair's diversity workshops and the Liz Lerman Teen Exchange.
The GLSEN organization helps students in their efforts "to promote tolerance and acceptance in schools," according to Davis. "There is a GSA campaign using a student group within the organization to help support and help students to start GSAs," Davis said.
Another goal of the organization is to promote acceptance through a focus on insults. "Right now, the goal is to make using LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) slurs inappropriate in schools," said Davis. Teens for Peace is a "teen group that gets together to use improve theater to explore themes of peace," according to Davis.
Between all of his many activities, Davis barely has any time to relax. "I try to sleep every once in a while," Davis jokes. "I got six hours of sleep last night by some feat of amazingness."
Davis's work with the Liz Lurhmen Teen Exchange was the most direct reason for his nomination for the award by Catherine Hill, a family friend. "As a part of Liz Lurhmen Teen Exchange, I choreographed a dance called ‘Man Enough.' Catherine Hill thought it was a really powerful piece and wrote a letter to Men Can Stop Rape," Davis said.
Other factors in why he won the award are Davis's struggles in his childhood and how he overcame these struggles. "I didn't really have a father figure and I had some financial hardship. It could have made me bitter, but I decided to embrace who I was," said Davis.
Davis fully supports the message the MCSR organization presents. "Looking at what other people said where strength comes from it's really saying I don't accept the status quo of male masculinity being determined by physical strength," said Davis.
"The whole point is strength is being able to be a stronger person. You don't have to be physically strong to be a strong man," said Davis.
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