2nd Annual Girls Coalition Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest

2nd Annual Girls Coalition Martin Luther King Jr., Essay Contest Presented by UPMC

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The Second Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest provided the opportunity for regional youth to thoughtfully consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, his mission, and his challenge to, “develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.”  Using Dr. King’s legacy as inspiration and in honor of Women’s History Month, youth were challenged to highlight a female activist, past or present, who shares and lives out MLK’s vision. The 2014 Women’s History Month 2014 theme was celebrating women of charactercourage, and commitment – qualities that are clearly evident in MLK’s life and work.

Check out the WINNERS in the press release and read their essays below:

6-8th grade winners: Elizabeth (first prize) and Yamna (second prize)

9-12th grade winners: Qui Ante (first prize), Nikki (second prize) and Caroline and Jasmine (tied for third prize)

Yamna (L) and Elizabeth (R), with Winifred Torbert from the Center for Inclusion.

Yamna (L) and Elizabeth (R), with Winifred Torbert from the Center for Inclusion.

Students in grades 6-12 were encouraged to submit entries and use their creative voices to raise awareness, encourage positivity, and acknowledge girls and women who have made a lasting impact, or are changing the world today, using the following quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s April 1968 “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” for inspiration:

“Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today…the cry is always the same: ‘We want to be free.’ Be concerned about your brother [and sister]… either we go up together, or we go down together.
 Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.”

Using the legacy of MLK and quote above as a starting point, select a girl or woman who has lived out Dr. King’s teachings. Use the questions below for guidance:

  • How has she lived out Dr. King’s legacy? How has she worked for justice and equality for all?
  • What qualities do she and Dr. King share? Why are these qualities important in a leader?
  • How has she demonstrated a “kind of dangerous unselfishness” in her life and work?
  • What have you learned from MLK and your chosen activist? How will you work towards equality and justice for all people?