Carnegie Mellon University
January 09, 2020

Western Pennsylvania Students Tackle Issues of Difference and Diversity Through Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards

By Stefanie Johndrow

Stefanie Johndrow
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-1788

Although Martin Luther King, Jr.'s role as a spokesperson and activist in the Civil Rights Movement took place more than 60 years ago, his message of equality, human rights and social activism is as relevant today as it was then.

Carnegie Mellon University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards gives high school and college students in western Pennsylvania a safe space to creatively explore their personal experiences with difference and discrimination through writing. This year, prizewinners touched on topics ranging from race to culture and ethnicity to sexual orientation, religion, sexism and sexual harassment, to immigration status and neuro and physical disabilities.

The first-ever Special Drama Award will go to Paloma Sierra, a master's student in CMU's School of Drama, for her performance piece "YoUr EnGlIsH iS sO GoOd."

"This year's entries clearly show a generation willing to take a stand against injustice and for inclusion," said Jim Daniels, founder of the awards and the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Hearing these young voices gives me hope for the future in these complex, difficult times."

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