The 2018 BET Awards honored several heroes on Sunday night whom presenter John Legend described as “individuals who’ve had the opportunity in their everyday lives to do something unexpected and impactful for our community.”
Justin Blackman, Anthony Borges, Mamoudou Gassama, Shaun King, James Shaw Jr. and Naomi Wadler were all honored as BET’s first-ever Humanitarian Heroes.
“Everyone has an opportunity to be extraordinary, don’t be afraid to be a hero,” said Legend of the honorees.
— #BETAwards (@BETAwards) June 25, 2018
For a refresher on who these honorees are, you can read more below:
Teenager Justin Blackman was the sole student of roughly 700 enrolled at Wilson Preparatory Academy in North Carolina who participated in the March 14 walkout to protest gun violence. He spent 17 minutes outside the school to demonstrate alone in memoriam of the 17 lives lost in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting just one month before.
— Justin Blackman (@JustinIBlackman) March 14, 2018
Anthony Borges is a high school student at that Parkland school ― Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ― that Blackman walked out on behalf of and helped save many of his classmates on the day of that horrific shooting. The soccer player used his own body to shield classmates and suffered from multiple gunshot wounds.
Mamoudou Gassama has been referred to a real-life Spider-Man for his incredible climbing feat in Paris, France, last month. The 22-year-old Malian native rescued a 4-year-old dangling from a fourth-floor balcony. Of the heroic moment, Gassama told Le Parisien: “I did not think of the floors … I did not think of the risk. I did it because it’s a child.”
Activist and journalist Shaun King is a columnist for The Intercept and the Writer-In-Residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project. The 38-year-old has frequently spoken out on social media about violence or harassment toward people of color and has helped police identify and arrest violent white supremacists.