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Project 100%

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Project 100% site

Faculty Committee

Mark J. Kaswan

Assistant Professor

Department of Government 

Chair, Project 100%

 

Farhat Iftekharrudin

Professor

Department of English

 

Karon Jahn

Master Technical Instructor

Department of Communication

 

Ruth Ann Ragland

Professor

Department of Government

 

Philip Samponaro

Associate Professor

Department of History

 

William Yaworsky

Professor

Department of Behavioral Sciences

DREAMers and the Dream Essay Contest


 “When will we be satisfied?... No, we are not satisfied, and will we not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King


The Contest

Background

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, arguably one of the most important orations in American history. In it, King articulates his vision of a society in which people will be “judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character,” and where people of all ethnicities, races and faiths can “sit down together at the table of brotherhood” and sing “in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.’”

King’s speech is often seen as the keystone of a civil rights movement involving millions of Americans that culminated with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which eliminated legal segregation, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which lifted barriers to voting by minorities. But King was not only concerned with voting rights and the indignities of legal segregation. King spoke out forcefully about other issues which he saw as related to the cause of civil rights—a war in which the young men who were drafted mostly came from low-income families, and that people who worked hard for a living had to struggle to survive, while others enjoyed great wealth and leisure.

Today, the issues of civil rights, including the issues of economic inequality and of war are still very much with us, although they have changed. The worst, legal forms of segregation and discrimination have given way to subtler forms, like Voter ID laws that are discriminatory in their effect. In many ways the main battlefront for civil rights now is immigration, particularly for young people who either were brought here without documents in their youth and are denied citizenship rights, or who see their families torn apart when their undocumented-immigrant parents are detained and deported. Economic inequality is far worse now than during King’s life, as young people from poor families find that they have less chance of improving their standard of living than at any time since the Great Depression. Finally, the men and now women who serve in our armed forces may be volunteers, but often their reason for volunteering has more to do with the lack of other opportunities than a desire to serve.

Theme

We call this essay contest “DREAMers and the Dream” in order to suggest a connection between the issue of immigration and Dr. King’s call for equal treatment for all. But this is not the only way to think about civil rights today. Has the goal of freedom for all been achieved? Should we “be satisfied”? If not, what more can be done, and what do you think is your role in moving the cause of civil rights forward?

Rules

The contest is open to all students with Freshman standing enrolled full- or part-time at UTB. 

Submit a one-page, double-spaced essay (approx. 250–300 word) by December 9, 2013 to project100@utb.edu

Prizes

  • Grand prize $1,000 scholarship

  • First prize $500 scholarship

  • Second prize $250 scholarship




Winners will be announced at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service event, January 20, 2014