2010 Martin Luther King Essay Contest Winners

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* The organizers of the 2010 MLK Essay Contest asked that the names of these young authors
be withheld.
Dear Barack Obama,
My name is K___ and I am 18 years old. I go to the READY Program and I am a senior. I
am writing this letter for my English class. I love to play sports and watch them; especially
basketball. I have eight brothers and sisters, and I live with my mom and step dad. I will
go on and talk about what I have experienced or heard of about social injustice.
I didn’t see it, but everybody heard about a boy named Kiwane Carrington. He was
climbing through someone’s window that he knew because the door was locked. The
police came on the site and saw him. They told him to put his hands up and he didn’t.
They shot him. I don’t think that was fair because they could have done something else
besides shoot him. The police are always so quick to shoot people and he was just a kid.
What I hope to change is the law enforcement. They have so much power and they
abuse their authority. The police are always harassing me every time I walk the streets or
drive around. I think somebody needs to change the way law enforcement is. I think
police officers take advantage of their power.
Police officers worry about the wrong things. You could be walking down the street,
minding your own business and they automatically think you are doing something wrong
just because you are BLACK. They should worry about more important things, like people
getting killed.
From this experience, I learned that you have to be careful when you are around the
police because they will find any little reason to mess with you or in Kiwane’s case shoot
you. So do what the police tell you to do, even if you don’t want to and you will be all right.
Thank you Barack Obama for taking the time in your busy schedule to read my letter.
And thank you for wanting to make a difference and wanting to hear what I have to say
about how law enforcement is unfair to my community.
Dear President Obama and Dr. King,
Hello my name is R___. I am a junior at the Ready Program. In my first hour English class
we are learning about social justice in our world. So we have been asked to write a letter,
a poem, or an essay. I have chosen to write both a letter and a poem. In my letter I will be
talking to you about how there is a lot of “unfair” treatment in the community. Also how
there are people who have high authority but are very unfair on how they use it. Those
are the things that I will be talking about.
There are two things I would like to talk about in my letter and the first one is going to
be about how policemen abuse their authority. About a month ago I had a student from
my school get shot by a police man…now understand I was not there when it happened
but what I have gathered is that the boy died for nothing. But like I said I don’t know the
whole story. All I know is that I knew him…I had chilled with him and he was an ok kid
just to be blown away by a gun…for nothing. Now you tell me how you think they should
have gone about this. I think that there was no reason to pull a gun out on a kid anyway.
But that is my opinion on this situation.
In my poem I will be talking about how unfair things are and how they affect us as
people who can’t do things because of unfair treatment. People can not get jobs because
of a mistake that they made. There are so many things people can not do because of
unfair treatment. Being unfair is unfair, its like if I would say that you can’t get a job
because you stole a car five years ago, that’s a double whammy…because have I not
already paid the price once before?
Poem by R___
Why unfair?
Why do people have to be unfair?
Can’t get a job because you made a bad decision.
Giving dirty looks to everyone like racism.
Why do people have to be unfair?
It’s wrong… But we deal with it.
Unfair we can’t work with it.
Why do people have to be unfair?
Abusing authority to get the job done fast.
Taking someone’s life with the sound of a blast.
Why do people have to be unfair?
Unfair… we hear that every were.
The government, school, home, it’s all unfair.
Why do people have to be unfair?
Being put in a place you don’t want to be.
For something you didn’t do and now all you can do is plead.
It’s just that one word that we all are used to saying.
Ever since we were little that’s the one word that is staying.
But what will happen if it gets out of hand?
It’s been said so much…the word could be banned.
If we as the people…as a town…as a community…as a world and as a society work
together to fight for our fairness.
We will be able to beat out this crazy child ness.
It’s been around for too long.
We are grown now and that should be dead and gone.
But it’s not…it’s still here…lingering like gas in the air.
We have to stop this unfair pollution
But until then we still ask ourselves. Why do people have to be unfair?

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