Taylor High School Alumnus Believes in Social Activism

Tom Behrens

Early on in life Lauren Forney began forming traits that continue influence her choices in her young life. Her mother, Lisa, and father, Marcus, taught her the importance of helping others – what some call social activism. “I give a lot of the credit to my parents. They have always helped others.”

Since she was four she was involved in helping others. At 12 she was selected by the State Board of Education as Hero of the Year.

Lauren’s involvement with looking out for others became recognized recently when she was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from National Society of High School Scholars ( NSHSS). Of the 300 plus applicants, Lauren was one of five students who were selected for the $1,000 Scholarships. NSHSS offers many scholarships, internships and leadership opportunities for high school and college students, and educators for excellence internationally.  She graduated from Taylor High School in Katy ISD, and is now a freshman at Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia where she is in a premed program focusing on a degree in Dermatology or Gynecology.

As a junior at Taylor HS, she created Lady Lauren’s Community Service Academy for first grade students, all the way to college. “We offered community services, ranging from  a caner drive and a scarf drive for senior citizens at a local senior citizens center.” When she graduated from Taylor there were about 25 members in the Academy.  It continues on as a thriving opportunity offering students to make a difference in someone’s life.

In her freshman, or sophomore year at Taylor HS, a particular sports story made the news regarding a male high school  African American wrestler who had to shorten his hair lengthen to continue in a wrestling tournament. “I didn’t want these same barriers to expand and constrict African Americans to be discriminated for hair length and texture in the work force.” She emphasized that the wrestler was not a Taylor athlete.

She heard of an organization called Jack & Jill of America. It’s primary goal, run by mothers, is to expose young African Americans to cultural awareness and health. Through this organization Forney was able to go to Washington through an organization called “The Hill”.  The Hill has an active internship program. While there she was able to talk with Representative Lizzie Fletcher and learn about the Crown Act.

The Crown Act, Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN), aims to eliminate discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyle that results in a denial of basic civil rights, including educational, housing and employment opportunities. Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland and Nebraska  passed the Crown Act. As yet, the State of Texas, has not approved the Crown Act, but the City of Austin approved implementing the Austin Crown Act in 2022.

“I believe that being civically engaged will make this World a better place for us all. I believe that each of us has a voice that deserves to be heard on important topics that affect the people of my community.”