The Troy Scroggins Award honors a person and organization fighting against discrimination and prejudice


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Recipients of the 2021 Troy Scroggins Prize have been honored for their work in the fight against discrimination and prejudice in the capital.

The City of Topeka says its Human Relations Commission announced Washburn Law Dean Carla Pratt as the individual recipient of the 2021 Troy Scroggins Award and Omni Circle Group as the organization recipient.

The city said the awards are given to deserving individuals and organizations for their work in furthering the THRC’s mission. It recognizes outstanding achievement in ameliorating discrimination and prejudice based on race, sex, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, ancestry, disability and ethnicity. sexual orientation, as well as promoting diversity in the city.

Topeka said the two award categories are Outstanding Individual Achievement and Outstanding Organizational Achievement.

“Dean Pratt’s scholarship and advocacy on race and the legal profession has served as a motivator to increase diversity within Topeka, Washburn Law and the Kansas legal community,” said Commissioner Nicholas Smith, President of THRC. “Through the leadership of Dean Pratt, Washburn Law has implemented new programs to increase access to legal education for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities, continuing its legacy as a exemplary institution becoming Topeka.

“Omni Circle Group has made strides in advancing multicultural and multigenerational opportunities for Topeka’s African-American community,” Smith said. “Through its community development program, Omni Circle Group acts as an entrepreneurial incubator for minority-owned Topeka businesses. The organization continues to serve the community through its food programs, mentoring, mental health workshops, and providing school supplies to students. »

According to the city, Pratt is dean of the law school at Washburn University. Previously, she was a Nancy J. LaMont Fellow and Professor of Law at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law. He said his scholarship is at the intersection of constitutional law, Indian federal law, education law, and racial and American law, with a focus on understanding the role of identity in the law and legal institutions.

From 2012 to 2018, the city said Pratt served as an associate justice of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Supreme Court in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

The city said Michael Odupitan, CEO and Chairman, started Omni Circle Group with a vision for change and a mission to unite and strengthen communities through personal and professional development. A former student from Washburn, he said Odupitan returned to the capital to give back to the community he said saved him.

Over its three years, the city said Omni Circle Group launched various support groups and workshops to help minorities succeed in business, improve community mental health, inspire youth through mentoring and building community, and develop a strong e-commerce community in Topeka.

The city said the THRC is a 9-member council of commissioners appointed by the mayor with the consent of the city council, which conducts outreach and education activities that promote justice and cultural understanding and improve relationships between the people of Topeka.

The prizes will be awarded at the city council meeting on January 18.

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