Alvin Sykes

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Alvin Sykes

Alvin Sykes is a Kansas City native who "has worked for civil rights for decades." He is President of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, National Association of Human Rights Workers, based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism

Alvin Sykes serves on the International Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism as of March 18, 2021.[1]


A self-taught legal scholar and lifelong student at KC's public libraries, Sykes has worked throughout the United States on justice campaigns for victims of civil rights violations and racist murder.

He began right here in Kansas City after Steve Harvey -- a promising saxophonist labeled the next Charlie Parker -- was murdered for being black. Syke's advocacy, his creation of the Steve Harvey Justice Campaign, resulted in the conviction of the perpetrator.

Since then, Sykes worked tirelessly -- working with lawmakers, testifying before Congress, pressuring attorney generals at the Justice Department, traveling the nation -- to pass the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, establishing a cold case division at the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute old, unsolved hate crimes. He succeeded in this effort, both in 2008 when the Act was first signed into law and in 2016 when it was renewed.[2]

Louis E. Burnham Award

The Louis E. Burnham Award is granted each year to an individual whose work reflects the interests and values of Louis Burnham's life. Those interests included:

racial justice in urban areas and the U.S. South, human rights, socially engaged journalism, African-American politics, youth leadership.

Commemorating Burnham's lifelong engagement with progressive causes, the award recognizes the work of journalists, social justice activists and scholars who have amply demonstrated their commitment to racial justice and the advancement of the African-American community. The Award consists of a grant of $5,000 to be used to support the work of the recipient.

The Louis E. Burnham Fund is proud of the work of previous award recipients, including Erik McDuffie, Jaribu Hill, Osagie Obasagie, Monifa Bandele, Latosha Brown, Kai Barrow, Alvin Sykes, Alfonzo White, Sendolo Diaminah, Denise Perry and Kazembe Balagun. [3]