Nearly 30 years ago, Carl Boyd helped start a radio program produced by high school students in the metro area to discuss topics ranging from peer pressure to prom tips.
Student producers book guests, research discussion topics and write and distribute weekly news releases to promote the show.
The show — Generation Rap — has aired on KPRS-FM every Saturday morning since 1987.
Boyd is also founder of the Art of Positive Thinking, an educational firm, and Stoots for Boots, a nonprofit organization that helps students recognize the role of the military in education.
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Stoots for Boots was started in 2006 after the publication of Boyd’s 2004 book “The 5th Front Campaign.”
He also authored in 2014 “Academic Patriotism,” a book challenging American students to honor American troops with academic excellence.
For his dedicated work, Boyd is a recipient — along with Kansas City Star columnist Mary Sanchez — of the 2017 Evelyn Wasserstrom Award. They were honored during an interfaith service Jan. 8 at Community Christian Church that kicked off the metro area’s observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City sponsor the program.
The Wasserstrom Award, named for a founder of the annual interfaith service, recognizes work on behalf of minorities and oppressed people.
Boyd, 74, said he was not worthy of the award.
“I haven’t done enough,” he said, “but it is enough incentive to try harder.”
Robert Lee Hill, event co-chairman, disagreed, citing Boyd’s easygoing teaching style, compassion for others and inspiration to young people.
“Carl has been a stalwart champion of civil rights and progress for people on the margins of society for the majority of his life,” Hill said. “A great preponderance of his years of service to people in need is one of the most impressive things about him.”
Sanchez is a nationally syndicated columnist who focuses on education, immigration, race, politics and culture. For the past 30 years she has covered those issues and more for The Star.
She also volunteered for 10 years as co-director of Anytown USA, a summer camp that offered high school students a chance to interact with teenagers different from themselves.
Anytown, Sanchez wrote in a recent column, began locally in 1992. It was formed from a national model that grew out of the struggles of the civil rights era. The National Conference for Community and Justice, formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews, initially led many of the camps nationwide and in the Kansas City area.
Before the program folded about five years ago, nearly 8,000 teenagers attended either the camps or a more compact, weekend version called Unitown. Many of the youths were from the metro area, but camps were also done in Iowa and Nebraska.
Sanchez, Hill said, is being recognized for her tireless work with Anytown as well as for championing the cause of minorities and oppressed people.
“Both in her journalism and her volunteering, she has exemplified the virtues of Evelyn Wasserstrom,” Hill said of Sanchez. “It’s only fitting that she receives this award.”
Sanchez said she was humbled to be recognized and appreciated as a consistent voice in the fight against inequality.
“There are a lot of awards you can pick up here and there, but this is one special,” she said.