Sadiya Omar and her family came to the United States in 2001. They established a home in Henrietta and Sadiya began helping other refugees from her homeland of Somalia and other countries, as well, who did not know English and could not find the resources they needed. She is the Vice-president and co-founder of the non-profit organization Refugees Helping Refugees (RHR) which offers free services to help refugees and immigrants become self-sufficient.
Her colleagues refer to her as the Somalian version of Mother Teresa because of her utter selflessness and compassionate way of being in the world. Sadiya received the Farash Prize for Social Entrepreneurship in 2014 and a national Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service in 2016.
2019 Antoinette Brown Blackwell Scholarship Winners
Lilijana Oliver (left) and Twanda Dixon (right)
Lilijana Oliver is a semi-finalist for the National Merit Scholarship, and was nominated for the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Award of Excellence. She began playing the viola in fourth grade and has performed with the Area All-State and All-County Orchestras.
As an athlete, Lilijana is the recipient of a Scholar Athlete Award, Most Valuable Female Runner Award, Coaches Award and was selected for the All Greater Rochester Cross-Country Team.
She volunteers at the Ganondagon Seneca Art and Culture Center which keeps her connected to her Native American Lineage.
Twanda Dixon is a member of National Honor Society and the Spanish National Society and has received the Urban League Early Recognition Black Scholar Award, the Digital Citizenship Award and the Royal Comets Award. She has volunteered for Hurricane Relief Efforts, CURE Childhood Cancer, Food-link and the Open Door Mission Samaritan House.
Twanda belongs to Rochester Institute of Technology’s STEP Program and the FIRST Robotics-Team 191, X-cats.
She will attend RIT this fall to study New Media Interactive Development.