SSU Student Asad (AJ) Franklin named CSU Black Student Success Scholarship recipient

June 14, 2024
Asad Franklin

Asad (AJ) Franklin

Sonoma State University student Asad (AJ) Franklin has been awarded one of six California State University (CSU) Black Student Success Scholarships, chosen from a group of nominees from all 23 CSU campuses.

The six $5,000 scholarships, sponsored by the CSU Foundation, will be awarded for the 2024-25 academic year “to undergraduate students who have demonstrated leadership in increasing equitable access to higher education and undertaking community service that promotes anti-racism work and culture change to elevate Black excellence,” according to the Foundation. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this scholarship award. It gives me hope that, despite being Black and from a low-income background, I have the power to make greater change because I am not alone,” Franklin said.

Franklin is a philosophy major with concentrations in pre-law and applied ethics who aspires to become a human rights lawyer and address systemic injustices for members of marginalized communities. In his nomination letter, he is lauded for “honoring the struggles and triumphs of his ancestors by seeking to develop empowerment and belonging through his own example and actions.”

Franklin credits his parents for instilling him with a commitment to amplifying voices that are often overlooked. 

“Inspired by the strength and unity of the Black community, I aim to cultivate spaces of empowerment and belonging through the transformative power of representation,” he said.

At Sonoma State, Franklin has elevated Black identity and visibility. As President of the SSU Residential Village Council, he ensured that underrepresented students were considered in the community building programs they sponsored. He became a Brand Ambassador for SSU’s Seawolf Living to increase the diversity of students on that social media channel as well as in Sonoma State promotional materials and among the 2024 Faces of SSU. 

As 2024-25 Vice President of External Affairs for Sonoma State’s Associated Students, Franklin will serve as a representative to the California State Student Association (CSSA). He hopes to use this role to advocate for mental health support, particularly for Black students who feel isolated and lack the support of those who share their experience. 

Franklin also has been involved in the Sonoma County Bar Association’s Pipeline Project, designed to create pathways for members of underrepresented and marginalized communities. 

He said he will apply the CSU Foundation award to continuing his involvement in leadership positions and initiatives that will allow him to create positive changes within his community.

“This scholarship is not just an investment in my education, but in the larger vision of equity and justice for the voices I hope to represent.”

Media Contact

Janet Durkin