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A Wilson Preparatory Academy student who was the only student to walk out of class during a national protest of gun violence at his school is one of six who will share BET’s Humanitarian Award given tonight.
The award typically goes to one person. But this year, the network honored six people it calls “humanitarian heroes.”
Among them is 16-year-old Justin Blackman, the only student to walk out of Wilson Prep on March 14. Students across the country walked out of classes that day, one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
That day, Justin posted a photo and comments on his Twitter account @JustinIBlackman: “It’s National Walkout Day and I’m the only one at my school out here. No one here but me.” Blackman said in a smartphone video posted to his Twitter account, @JustinIBlackman.
Blackman’s video was retweeted by cable channel BET and then caught the attention of CNN. Reporters for the news network interviewed Blackman and his mother for a story posted later that day to CNN.com. The 28-second video had racked up more than 3 million views on Twitter and had been retweeted more than 45,000 times by that night.
When students left classes April 20 to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, Blackman shared a photo showing dozens standing with him.
The other five receiving the award, according to The Hollywood Reporter, are Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr.; March for Our Lives speaker Naomi Wadler; journalist Shaun King; Parkland, Florida, hero Anthony Borges; and Mamoudou Gassama, who saved a young boy by climbing a set of balconies like Spider-Man in Paris