The Omaha Community Council on Racial Justice and Reconciliation (OCCRJR) in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a national organization out of Montgomery, AL committed to challenging racial and
economic injustice, would like to announce a scholarship contest open to 9th – 12th-grade students attending Omaha area public schools. This Racial Justice Essay Contest is a great opportunity for students to get involved. The contest is co-sponsored by the City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department and various public schools located within the greater Omaha metropolitan area.
EJI has documented more than 6,500 African American victims of racial terror lynching killed between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and World War II. At least 5 African American victims of racial terror lynching are documented to have been killed in the state of Nebraska alone, of which at least two are reported to have been lynched in Douglas County: Mr. George Smith (1891) and Mr. Will Brown (1919).
2020 has pulled the sheets back on racial injustice in the United States, and it has hit close to home in our community. OCCRJR and EJI want to give students a chance to write about how America’s history of racial injustice has impacted their own lives through an essay writing contest with prizes totaling at least $5000 for winning participants. Essays should explain the chosen topic using a specific local or national historical event and imagine solutions for a future free from racial injustice.
EJI acknowledges that our national history of racial inequality and economic injustice has created continuing
challenges for all Americans, and most particularly Black Americans. The goal of this essay contest is for students to join the Omaha Community Council on Racial Justice and Reconciliation and engage with our local memorialization efforts to repair, heal, and concretize the history of racial violence in our community. By writing about a chosen local or national theme or topic involving racial violence and social inequity in America, students will join thousands of other students in EJI’s ongoing conversation about our nation’s history and legacy of racial injustice.
We have set up a website to help guide students through the essay process. The website can help you choose an essay topic, walk you through the guidelines, and help you submit your essay. Essays must be submitted electronically. Once you have chosen a topic and have completed your research, your essay will need to be between 800 and 1000 words.
For further details and contest rules, please consult the flyer that is included in the advertisement section of this edition, as well as visit the website at http://bit.ly/ EJIessayomaha. In addition, readers may go to the Human Rights & Relations Facebook page [https://www.facebook. com/humanrights.omaha] and view a 3.5 minute web commercial about the essay contest, as well as read about other opportunities and services provided to the public.
We greatly encourage students to seek the guidance of teachers to help edit your essay. The deadline for essay submissions is midnight, April 30th, 2021. EJI officials will determine the winners of the competition. Tentative plans are to announce 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners during a Juneteenth event OCCRJR will be hosting on June 18th at the Douglas County Courthouse.
For further information, Omaha Public Schools students should contact Lindsay Behne at 531-299-6704. Non- Omaha Public School students should contact Franklin Thompson at 402-444-5049. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. This is a great opportunity for you to have your voice heard and earn some scholarship money in the process.