MLK essay contest open to campus community; deadline is Jan. 12

In celebration of the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Week, all current Case Western Reserve University students, faculty and staff are invited to write and submit an essay of no more than 500 words that reflect on the application of King’s values and vision to contemporary social, political and economic issues.

The contest will provide an opportunity for the entire university to “reflect and engage in dialogue about the life, the work and the ideas that shaped Dr. King’s commitment to social justice in the United States and around the world,” said Marilyn Mobley, vice president for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity (OIDEO).

The contest is one of several ways that CWRU honors King during the weeklong celebration that includes workshops, films, panelists and speakers.

This year’s MLK essay contest will be open to faculty and staff members. “The broad support we have for the 2012 essay contest, which came from the President’s Advisory Council, the Kelvin Smith Library, OIDEO and the Residence Life Office, compels us to extend this dialogue opportunity to all members of the CWRU community,” said Obie Okuh (LAW ’11), the MLK essay coordinator. “Two reasonable minds may read the same excerpt of a speech by Dr. King and have different conclusions about how to apply it. We are keen to learn how students, staff and faculty concur or disagree on the significance and application of Dr. King’s visions and values.”

Participants should choose any one of the five excerpted speeches by Dr. King as prompts for their reflection and writing. The five prompts are excerpts of King’s speeches/ writings on 1) poverty; 2) racism; 3) militarism/ war; 4) financial responsibility/ excellence; and 5) inclusion and forgiveness.

A total of six prizes will be awarded. Two undergraduate, two graduate/ professional students and two faculty/staff members will each receive either $300 for first place or $100 for runner-up in their respective categories. Winners will be recognized during the MLK Convocation Jan. 20 at 12:30 p.m. at the Amasa Stone Chapel. The convocation will feature keynote speaker Michael Eric Dyson, University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. An exhibit  is planned to display select essays at various points around the university in the spring semester.

For more information, contact Obie Okuh, MLK essay coordinator, at, or visit the MLK essay website at