Iris Mercado, a senior urban studies major at Rhodes, is the recipient of the 2014 Sargent Shriver Youth Warriors Against Poverty Leadership Award presented by the Marguerite Casey Foundation.
The award is named for Sargent Shriver, architect of the War on Poverty and visionary leader of Head Start, Peace Corps, and Job Corps. Mercado is one of 15 recipients nationwide being recognized for passion and dedication to improving the lives of families and their communities.
Mercado came to Rhodes in 2011 as a Clarence Day Scholar. The program requires students to complete a service, research or internship activity in addition to meeting Rhodes’ rigorous academic standards.
Mercado has been a volunteer of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition since 2007 and now leads the West Tennessee office as the West TN Organizer. She is involved in advocacy, civic engagement, and communications activities with the immigrant communities in the Memphis and Jackson areas.
In addition, she has been actively involved in BRIDGES, and in 2012 received its Most Dedicated Volunteer award for her work with high school and middle school students on work to advance racial, educational, economic and environmental justice.
A graduate of White Station High School in Memphis, Mercado also worked closely with the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in their Alternatives to the Military Project.