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The Fourth Annual Essay Contest, presented by UPMC, provides the opportunity for regional youth to consider the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in conjunction with Women’s History Month. The 2016 theme for Women’s History Month is “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” The fight for equal rights is long from over, and whether in classrooms, boardrooms, in the media, and on the floor of congress, we need unity in order to achieve a society where every person has the opportunity to make a difference.
- Students in grades 6-12 are eligible
- Submissions must include, first and last name, age and grade, and school, as well as the contact name, phone number, and email for one parent or guardian
- Essays must be typed in 12 point font, with one inch margins, and no more than 1,000 words
- Submit all essays by 6pm on 2/26/16 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Just a few months before his assassination in 1968, Dr. King spoke to the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in South Carolina. He said:
In any social revolution there are times when the tail winds of triumph and fulfillment favor us, and other times when strong head winds of disappointment and setbacks beat against us relentlessly. We must not permit adverse winds to overwhelm us as we journey across life's Atlantic. We must be sustained by energies of courage or engines of courage, in spite of the winds—this refusal to be stopped, this courage to be, this determination to go on in spite of, is the hallmark of great movements.
Using Dr. King’s tireless fight for equal rights and success in fostering and leading a movement, along with the above quote for inspiration, select a girl or woman whose work in government or public service shows commitment to social justice and equality in our world. Use the questionsbelow as a guide:
- Like Dr. King, how has this person worked with courage and passion to make a difference?
- How has she persevered even when things were difficult?
- What qualities do she and Dr. King share? Why are these qualities important in a leader?
- How has this person lived out the qualities of character, courage, and commitment?
- Why is it important to acknowledge female leaders during Women’s History Month?
- What have you learned from MLK and your chosen activist?
- How are you inspired to work towards equality and justice?