‘Taking a stand’: FSU student named John Lewis Scholar

BY: MARK BLACKWELL THOMAS, UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS

A Florida State University student has been named a John Robert Lewis Scholar, the Washington-based Faith and Politics Institute announced.

Headshot of John Lewis Scholar student Rawan Abhari wearing a tan blazer and white button down. She is also wearing glasses and gold jewelry.
Rawan Abhari

Rawan Abhari, a rising senior from Ft. Myers, Florida, is one of 10 scholars selected from a field of more than 105 applicants from across the country.

The Faith and Politics Institute established the John Robert Lewis Scholars & Fellows Program in honor of John Lewis, the late congressman and civil rights icon.

“I believe we all have something to contribute in the pursuit of a pluralistic and equitable society,” Abhari said. “This is a mandate I’ve had and earning this means that I am engaging in that work.”

Abhari, who is majoring in economics and Middle Eastern studies, follows two FSU students who were named to the program’s inaugural class last year.

According to the Lewis Foundation, scholars “examine Lewis’s nonviolent philosophy from a historical perspective; and identify their applicability to modern times and movements, current issues, and everyday life.”

The program includes a $2,000 scholarship and travel to Washington, D.C and to Selma, Alabama, where Lewis joined other civil rights leaders in a historic march to Montgomery, Ala.

Lewis’ focus on nonviolence resonates with Abhari.

“I think the term nonviolence has been watered down to mean passivity and non-participating,” she said. “It actually means taking a stand on behalf of all causes for humanity.”

She added: “It means moving to a city, seeing what the city council is doing and what the school board is up to and who are the stakeholders. It’s putting a foot down in every community you are part of in order to create ‘beloved community’ that Martin Luther King spoke of.”

For more information, visit https://www.faithandpolitics.org/jrl-scholars-and-fellows-program.