MORE THAN 1600 YOUNG PEOPLE ENTER NATIONAL ESSAY CONTEST
ASKING "DOES DIVERSITY MATTER?"
On May 21st, the National Campaign to
Restore Civil Rights will make the formal announcement of the winners
of their national essay contest, "Does Diversity Matter?" at a media
briefing in at 1 p.m.
The essay winner is Jody Leung, 17, of
Union City, CA, and the winner of the short answer portion of the
contest is Laura Machado, 11 years old, of Louisville, KY. Runners up are from Seattle, Washington; San Jose, California; Ithaca, New York; New York City; and New Orleans, LA.
"NCRCR launched the essay contest in response to the Supreme Court’s consideration of two cases from and that could overturn or curtail historical advancements to promote diversity in schools," said Marianne Engelman Lado, general counsel of the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. The Court's decision in these cases is likely to be announced any time before July 2007. "These cases mark a turning point in the nation's response to the Court's unanimous 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education,
in which the Supreme Court ruled that 'separate but equal’ has no place
in the field of public education," said Cristóbal Joshua Alex, Campaign
Coordinator for NCRCR.
The judges for the contest were Rev. Al Sharpton,
Congresswoman Solis, based civil rights attorney Doreena Wong, former
NBA All-star Kevin Johnson, and the American Civil Liberties Union’s
Director of Racial Justice Program, Dennis Parker.
Over 1600 entries came in from around the country,
with young people 12-17 writing essays on the question and kids younger
than 12 sending in short statements about why diversity matters to them. "We
were thrilled with both the number of entries and the thoughtful nature
of the essays and statements," said Alex. "It is fitting that so many
of our winners and finalists come from Louisville and Seattle, where these two Supreme
Court cases originated," continued Alex.
"Our goal with this contest was to hear directly
from students why they feel diversity is important in schools – and
their response was loud and clear," Alex added. "These kids clearly
expressed that diversity enriches their educational experience and
makes the world a better place. We couldn’t agree more and we hope the
Supreme Court does the same," concluded Alex.
The National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights is a
non-partisan movement working to ensure that our courts protect and
preserve equal justice, fairness, and opportunity. We achieve these
goals through raising awareness, outreach, and building alliances.