The Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Award

Waynflete’s Diversity Advisory Group (DAG), a committee of faculty and staff, is thrilled to announce the first annual Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. Recipients will be selected based on writings submitted by Upper and Middle School students on the importance of continued commitment to racial justice and equality at Waynflete, in our community, and in the world. Recent events across the country, including those in Missouri and New York, have highlighted the persistence of racial disparity at both the institutional and individual levels. It is the hope of the committee that by inviting students to reflect in this manner we will stimulate earnest conversation about race in our communities.

The award recipients will serve as ambassadors representing Waynflete at an important Maine event honoring Dr. King.  Each year, the NAACP hosts a breakfast to honor the message of Dr. King and his dream that America should not judge people based on the color of their skin but on the content of their character. This year, the event will be held on Monday, January 19, 2015.  In addition to attending the breakfast, award recipients will receive a book. This year’s selection is A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Recipients will be selected on the basis of an application with a short essay responding to the following prompt:

Martin Luther King Jr.’s message about justice and social equality is as important today as it was when he first delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Though American society has undergone dramatic changes since the Civil Rights era, recent events have shown that we have yet to achieve racial equality in the United States, and that perceptions about a “post-racial” society are erroneous at best, dangerous at worst.

In no more than 250 words, write about your own understanding or experience of racial inequality. Has there ever been a moment in which you realized how much work we have left to do to achieve racial equality? Tell us about it.

A Google Form application has been mailed to all students, and can be accessed by clicking here. Submissions are due by Friday, January 9, at 12:00 noon. Martin Luther King Spirit Award recipients will be announced at assembly on January 13, 2015.

Click here to watch the trailer for Selma, a newly released film about a pivotal event in the Civil Rights struggle.  It opens this week in Portland.


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