Otterbein Office of Social Justice and Activism Director Wins Award Honoring MLK

Posted Jan 24, 2022

James Prysock
James Prysock

James Prysock director of Otterbein’s Office of Social Justice and Activism, received the 2022 Alston Award at Leadership Westerville’s 17th Annual Westerville Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Celebration. Otterbein President John Comerford nominated Prysock for the award. 

“It is very meaningful and humbling to be honored with an award associated with Dr. King,” said Prysock. “The legacy that he and others have left for us is immense. My hope is that I can make at least a fraction of the impact that they did.” 

The Alston Award is given to a Westerville business or community member who most effectively exemplifies the characteristics of servant leadership and a devotion to equity, diversity, liberty, and justice for all, as demonstrated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Comerford pointed to Prysock’s work on campus as “transformational — leading efforts in students of color retention rate through programming and outreach.”  

272135566 10100922734200595 3721190106140581262 N

Comerford also looked beyond campus to central Ohio and Prysock’s leadership in the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center (TRHT) initiative.  

Through the TRHT initiative, Prysock works closely with leaders around the city of Westerville and the state of Ohio, creating workshops, healing circles, and other programming aimed at dismantling the belief of the hierarchy of human value. 

Above all else, Comerford said Prysock’s value is a major asset to the community and beyond. 

“Social justice is a goal, and activism is a process. James leads the community into action. He is critical to this movement to change the region and the nation,” Comerford wrote. 

Otterbein has many initiatives focused on social justice. Prysock sees himself fulfilling a small piece of those initiatives. He credits university faculty, staff, and students that help support efforts of equity, social justice, and transformation as the key drivers of change. He says he’s grateful for the progress made but does not want to become content with it. 

“Every day is an opportunity to learn, grow, and change for the better,” he said.