Kayla Lin, a student at Mansfield Middle School, earned a winning spot in U.S. Senator Chris Murphy's 'Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Essay Contest'. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy announced on Monday, January 18, the winners of his fifth annual contest. This year, Murphy received close to 2,800 entries from elementary, middle, and high school students from across Connecticut reflecting on Dr. King’s dream and their own aspirations. Three students were selected from each of Connecticut's five Congressional districts.
“The events of the past year have laid bare the mass inequities in our country and, as we reflect on Dr. King’s dream for justice and equality in America, it is clear we still have a way to go,” said Murphy. “The essays submitted by students across Connecticut continue to give me hope. I’m certain that if these students continue to stay engaged in their community and reject the sins of our past, we’ll realize Dr. King’s dream sooner rather than later.”
Here is Kayla's winning essay:
Martin Luther King Jr. was an unrelenting champion of civil rights who ameliorated the world by leaving a legacy of love and hope. During the height of the civil rights movement, a period when African Americans endeavored for equality and freedom, Dr. King was a staunch advocate for peaceful protests. His leadership and lofty dreams inspired millions to fight for their beliefs toward a less prejudiced society.
History shouldn’t be forgotten and left behind. It’s a window into the past that we look to for guidance. The teachings of Dr. King transcends time. We are all created equal. We are all humans, regardless of race, gender, and background. We cannot change the way we look, but others can change the way they see.
I think of Dr. King’s legacy in numbers: the 41 names on the Civil Rights Memorial, the 730 hours Congress spent debating civil rights legislation. Most importantly, I remember that it only takes one to make a difference. I hope to help people empathize and understand others, even if they aren’t a certain race or gender. I will achieve my dream through my writing—I hope to write a book that encourages readers to not only fight for themselves, but for those around them as well. Writing will share my voice while showing others that their voices can be heard. Thanks to Dr. King, I am confident that individual boys and girls can personally create change in the world. Dr. King has made activism accessible.
Dr. King has proven the power of words, writing, and peaceful protest to uplift the lives, spirits, and aspirations of all races, genders, and backgrounds. Thank you, Dr. King, for your spark that has shed light on both racial injustice and human nature.
Learn more about Senator Murphy's Essay Contest here.