Excerpts From The 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest

0 Flares Filament.io 0 Flares ×

This is the sixth year of the essay contest sponsored by the University of
Illinois Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium. Since 2003,
over 1400 local students have written essays about the living legacy of
Dr. King as they experience it. What are the issues for students today that
are comparable to those that Dr. King focused on? What do our young
people see as problems in our community? How do they want to participate
in the work of social justice? What help do they need from the community?
In 2008, we received 207 essays from twelve schools. Twelve
readers from the campus MLK committee and the College of Education
read each of them several times; we selected ten essays as outstanding
and seven for honorable mention. We honor each student and teacher
for his or her participation.
—Cope Cumpston, Urbana School Board
A dream is something that you should hold fast to and never let slip away
because what is a dream if you don’t believe you can achieve? Today, the
young black society is faced with a challenge—jail. Too many of our young
black males are behind bars. Being locked up only hurts you as a person
because while you’re behind those bars your dream is getting smaller and
smaller. You miss out on spending time with family, friends, and most of all
you miss out on your future.
—Deanna King, Grade 11, Central High School
What has been bothering me is that I see more African-Americans behind
bars than any other race. I think this is not fair because people who don’t
have money suffer over something that other people can get. I want to see
all blacks and whites to be somewhere in their life.
—Jessyca Harris, Franklin Middle School
My second issue is to stop the police from harassing people because they
have authority that comes with a gun and a badge. I think they should not
abuse their authority.
—Annonymous, 9th grader, READY School
A social issue in our community that I think should be addressed is fighting.
One group of people that is affected by this issue is young children. Young
children are affected when they see other people fighting and it teaches
those children to be violent.
—Aisha Wright-Hamilton, Edison Middle School
My first issue is guns and shooting. People get shot for no reason and little
kids get shot.
—Kydel Brown, READY School
I have many concerns about community violence. There is even violence at
people’s schools. There is violence every week at my school. Like at Central
High School they had to go into lockdown because of a fight that was
going on. It isn’t safe to walk around at night without streetlights.
—Cidnee Sheehan, Franklin Middle School
For a while I have noticed that more and more violence is taking place in
school and it’s not always being worked with. One way to stop and actually
work with this issue is asking people what causes them to do these
things. I would like it if adults in general talked to the kids.
—Mary Donahue, Urbana Middle School
Violence is another big issue in our community. The standards for what is
okay or “play” fighting have been lowered and something needs to be
done about it. Just one slap or one kick could be part of the reason World
War III will begin. And if people don’t just talk about being peaceful, but
actually do something about it, World War III could happen.
—Tabitha Camp, Montessori Habitat School
My last major concern about my community is violence. What really bothers
me about it is that it happens right at the school. If we come together
as a community and talk about it, we can make a voice that can and will be
heard. Anything can be changed for anyone, anywhere.
—Jeron McNeal, READY School

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.