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Project on Racism Essay Winners

January 12, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: The winning essays will be read at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 19, at Laughlin Memorial Chapel in Wheeling.

The YWCA Wheeling once again sponsored a Project on Racism Essay Contest for schoolchildren throughout West Virginia to remember and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and inspire them to think about what his life and work means to them today. The essay topic for grades 1-4, based on the above quote, was: What does respect mean? Who do you respect and why?

The top two place winners in the category attend Ohio County Schools. Here are their essays.

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First Place: Karmeryn, grade 3, Ritchie Elementary

Martin Luther King Jr. showed respect by writing an important speech called "I Have a Dream." The speech was about respect and equal rights for everyone in the world. He led peaceful protests because he was against segregation. Dr. King helped Rosa Parks by starting a bus boycott when Rosa Parks was sent to jail for sitting in a white person's seat. I respect Martin Luther King because he did hard work just to make freedom for everyone, and he accepted people's differences.

Fact Box

"In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

To begin with, respect is a gift every person deserves. To me, respect is being generous and treating people the way you want to be treated. Accepting people's differences is another way to show respect. Helping less fortunate people is important because they need to feel good about themselves. Helping friends with homework, doing chores around the house and taking turns with everyone are all ways you can show respect.

Also, I respect my cousin because he is in the United States Army. One reason I respect him is because he protects our country, and he fights for freedom and justice for all Americans. He prepares for all types of emergencies. For instance, if there are people shooting at his base, my cousin does his best to keep everyone safe. I feel worried about him sometimes because I want him to be safe.

In addition, I show respect by helping my mom with my baby brother, doing the dishes, feeding my dog and taking out the garbage. Respect is important to me because it shows people that I care. For instance, my brother and I have to watch my baby brother so my mom can make dinner.

In conclusion, respect is important because if we did not have it, we would not have positive attitudes. Martin Luther King was a very respectful man because he wanted equal rights for every citizen by showing that we should be able to sit in the same seats and share water fountains no matter the person's skin color.

He made life better for all of us.


Second Place: Laila, grade 3, Richie Elementary

Martin Luther King Jr. fought for freedom for all Americans. He showed respect by accepting people's differences. Dr. King gave a speech called "I Have a Dream." He peacefully fought with his strong words instead of bitterness and hatred. Martin accepted differences and fought for equal rights. He didn't drink from the cup of bitterness.

Martin Luther King helped begin a major civil rights campaign. His campaign was centered on the word respect.

To start with, what is respect? I think respect is when all people have freedom and equality. I don't like segregation because it's not fair to discriminate because of the color of someone's skin. Respect is when you listen to other people even if you don't like what they are saying. Respect means treating others the way you want to be treated.

Furthermore, I respect my parents and my teachers because they help me in many different ways. For example, my parents give me a roof to live under and clothes to wear. I especially respect my parents because they adopted me. I know they love me, or I would be in a home.

I respect my teacher because she helps me learn and follow directions.

In addition, I show respect in many different ways. One way I show respect is by not yelling out in class. I try to make someone's day by saying kind things to them. Also, I enjoy showing respect by helping my teacher by listening and doing my homework. One thing I enjoy doing is cleaning because it is my favorite thing to do. Taking care of personal belongings is a way of showing respect. In particular, I show kindness to my parents because they are grateful for me, but not just for me. They care for my brothers too. That's why I love them! Do you think they earned respect from me? I sure do!

In conclusion, respect is something you have to gain. Honesty and courage are two ways to earn respect. Dr. King was respected because of his heroic actions. Sometimes I get mad when I get punished, but I know that my parents want me to learn to make good choices because they love me. I think everybody deserves respect. Do you think they deserve it?

Hopefully the world will strive to show respect just like Martin did. Everybody deserves to be treated with kindness even if they made mistakes throughout the past, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve it!



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