This high school senior wins my nomination for most courageous woman of the month. Mari Oye, a recent Wellesley High graduate (pictured last year with her spelling bee colleagues on the right), won this year's federal government’s highest honor, the Presidential Scholars medal. Instead of just visiting the White House and getting her picture taken for posterity with the president - the usual routine for Presidential Scholars, Mari persuaded 49 of her 140 fellow scholars to sign a letter she and a dozen others had drafted and she had just written longhand on notebook paper, calling on President Bush to reject torture and treat terrorism suspects humanely.
Mari says her activist spirit was influenced by her Quaker background and by grandparents on her father's side, who were in internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Here is the text of the letter:
As members of the presidential scholars class of 2007, we have been told that we represent the best and brightest of our nation. Therefore, we believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions. We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants.
Read the full story here.