Situated within a park in Shoreline, Washington, sits a small memorial for Edwin T. Pratt. Even though the name should ring a bell for residents of the Seattle suburb, 10-year-old Sarah Haycox had no idea who the man was.
After conducting some research she knew Pratt deserved more than a “plaque outside of a bathroom.”
Sarah was unsure who the memorial was honoring.
Sarah was walking through a park in Shoreline, when she stumbled upon a stone with a small plaque that only had a few words written on it.
Her initial thought was that the man being honored hadn’t lived long.
“I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s a really short life,” she told CBS News. “I just did the quick math in my head and we’re like, ‘He died at 39.'”
The 10-year-old looked into the man’s past.
When Sarah researched Pratt, she learned he was an important figure in her town who had been assassinated in front of his home less than a year after Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.
The civil rights leader became the first African American to move into the predominately white Shoreline neighborhood and worked hard on desegregation in schools. At the time of his death he was the Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League.
For someone who fought so hard for racial equality and social justice, Sarah couldn’t believe his name wasn’t more prominent around town.
“It was just the lack of recognition that really, I think, maybe, stunned me,” Sarah said. “It just felt like he’s gotta have something more than just a plaque outside of a bathroom.”
After learning about Pratt, she went on a mission to give him a proper tribute.
For 15 months Sarah worked hard trying to convince her community and the Shoreline School Board that the school district needed a building named after Pratt.
She attended countless meetings, gave numerous presentations, obtained over 2,000 signatures in person and online, and made her voice heard at school board meetings.
Months after she began her mission, a decision was made.
On May 21, 2018, the Shoreline School Board voted unanimously to name a new facility the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center. Sarah’s hard work had paid off.
“We are proud to honor and recognize Edwin Pratt for his life of service and commitment to the values of equality and justice that our schools and community work hard to promote,” School Board President David Wilson said in a statement. “The commitment to those same ideals was also reflected in Sarah’s work to educate our community about the life and contributions of Mr. Pratt. It was very inspiring to see one of our students lead that charge.”
Even though Sarah got what she was after, she’s still not done.
According to a GoFundMe page, Sarah still needs help. She’s currently raising money so Pratt’s family can attend the dedication of the new school building in 2019.
Sarah also wants to raise funds so a memorial can be constructed at the new facility. In addition, she wants to continue educating others about Pratt and keep inspiring other young people to speak out for social justice causes.