David Norr Youth Activist Award

Celebrating Youth Activism

Americans United celebrates the youngest generation of activists for freedom without favor and equality without exception with the David Norr Youth Activist Award. Named in honor of the late David Norr, a staunch advocate and supporter of Americans United and church-state separation for over 35 years, this award goes to an individual or group who goes above and beyond to advocate for the separation of church and state.

Announcing the 2024 David Norr Youth Activist Award recipient

Sanchi Rohira

Sanchi is a senior at Georgetown University, where she studies Culture and Politics and South Asian studies, organizes students around issues of racial justice & LGBTQ+ rights, and works in Dharmic ministry. She first became an organizer in 2018 in the wake of Parkland, and went on to work on political campaigns of progressive women of color making a bid for congress! Sanchi finds joy in building community around identifying needs, and injustices, and mobilizing to fill them.

Click here to read more about Sanchi Rohira and the David Norr Youth Activist Award.

2024 David Norr Youth Activist Award Honorable Mentions

Americans United also recognizes the four youth activists below with an honorable mention for their notable accomplishments as leaders and activists for church-state separation and inclusive religious freedom in their communities.

Mikah Dyer

Mikah Dyer is a passionate advocate for education and student empowerment, hailing from the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) in Arizona. As a dedicated PUSD student, Mikah is committed to enhancing the local education system and championing the rights of students and teachers alike. Currently serving as a field organizer in LD2 for two former educators running for the Arizona State Legislature, Mikah also holds prominent positions including Chair of the Peoria Youth Advisory Board, Peoria Unified School District Governing Board Regional Coordinator, Director of Youth Engagement, and President and Founder of the High School Democrats of Ironwood. With a profound dedication to protecting public education in Arizona, Mikah aspires to become a public school educator, public servant, and advocate in the state.

“Church-state separation holds paramount importance to me due to its fundamental role in safeguarding the integrity of public education. As an advocate for equitable educational opportunities, I recognize that maintaining a clear distinction between religious institutions and public education ensures that all students have access to a learning environment free from religious bias or discrimination. Upholding this separation is essential to fostering inclusivity and respect for diverse beliefs within the educational sphere, thereby empowering students to thrive regardless of their religious affiliations.”

Luke Fisher

Luke is a high school senior at Kent Denver School in Colorado and will be attending Stanford University in the fall. He wrote the articles “Defending the Wall of Separation: The Power of Student Advocacy” and “Upholding Constitutional Integrity: The Imperative of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.” He also co-authored “‘Sticks and Stones’ Can Be Potent Weapons as Ryan Walters’ Agenda Fuels Rhetoric, Hate Speech” with Secular Student Alliance (SSA) President Kevin Bolling. Luke founded the SSA Denver, Colorado high school chapter. As a master open water diver, Luke is passionate about protecting the marine environment and has conducted extensive microplastic mitigation research. Luke is also a competitive golfer and lacrosse player.

“The separation of church and state ensures that our government remains neutral, allowing individuals to practice their beliefs or non-beliefs without interference. Church-state separation is a fundamental, Constitutional safeguard that protects marginalized, secular, and non-Christian students who are most affected by the rise of Christian nationalism. As a sibling of a transgender student, I am committed to fight against the hatred, intolerance, and discrimination by elected officials that erodes the fundamental freedoms on which our democracy is founded.”

Maddy Niziolek

Maddy is a second-year Master of Public Administration student at George Washington University (GW) concentrating on health and gender policy. Maddy is one of the co-presidents of GW RAGE, the GW reproductive justice organization; president of Foggy Bottom Plan B, a community peer-to-peer emergency contraception distribution organization; a member of the Abortion Out Loud council and a regional co-lead for the Youth Abortion Support Collective with Advocates for Youth; and an abortion doula with DC Doulas for Choice. She is also the Development and Executive Associate at Catholics for Choice.

“As an advocate for abortion access I have seen firsthand what happens when church and state separation is eroded, particularly the dire consequences that it has for young people seeking abortion and other reproductive healthcare. It is no secret that the anti-choice movement is religious. As a Catholic, I refuse to see my faith weaponized to oppose abortion any longer.”

Chloe Serrano

Chloe Serrano is in her second year, majoring in Ethnic Studies, emphasizing Asian American studies at Fullerton College. Chloe aspires to pursue a Ph.D. to become a professor of Ethnic Studies and potentially a JD to become a lawyer specializing in domestic abuse or civil rights. As a young woman of color and organizer, Chloe offers an intersectional and decolonial outlook on the world. She strongly believes in mobilizing students of color through representation in a curriculum that empowers them inside and outside the classroom.

“Church-state separation is significant in ensuring bodily autonomy and the preservation of democracy. By separating church and state, equality elevates the protection of individual rights.”


The Youth Activist Award is named in honor of the late David Norr, who staunchly backed the principle of church-state separation and generously supported Americans United for more than 25 years.

Our most recent award recipients include Ramya Sinha, who stirred up some good trouble at her school, and AU client Irish 4 Reproductive Health, a student-led group that challenged the University of Notre Dame’s denial of birth control coverage.

AU knows it’s crucial for our movement to train, equip, and learn from the next generation of leaders. But it’s also important that we honor their courage. Rachel Laser, President and CEO
Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

Act Now