These are the winninng essay submissions by students at Richard Wright Public Charter School. The students also participated in The Washington Informer's April 19, "A Conversation with John Lewis," which was held at THEARC in Southeast D.C. For the contest, students were asked to write about someone who inspisres them.
Inspired by a Movement...
At age 17, John Lewis was so inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that he wrote a letter to Rev. King asking to meet him. Dr. King responded and sent Lewis a round-trip Greyhound bus ticket to meet with him in Atlanta, Ga. The Washington Informer asked Richard Wright Public Charter School students to write a letter to someone who inspires them and tell them why they would want to meet them and join their cause. Below are excerpts of three compelling letters selected by The Washington Informer staff.
The Trevor Project
I am writing this letter to you because I am very passionate about ending the cycle of bullying. I selected your organization to write to because you focus on supporting gay, lesbian, transgender, or questioning youth and ending the cycle of suicide among these youth by providing "life-saving" and "life-affirming' resources. I think it is wonderful that your organization exists and that it has a 24/7 lifeline intervention that the youth can call if they feel like they need someone to talk to.
I understand that the Trevor Project's vision is to create a future where all youth can have the same dreams and possibilities as everyone else, no matter what sexual orientation, or gender identity that they choose to be. That is a future I want to experience. I want to be affiliated with your organization because in the past, I have been bullied. I have been pushed around, and tortured, and it got to that point where I felt like nothing. Your organization would have been great to know about back then.
Another reason I'd like to be a part of your group is because one of my closet friends that I knew since 5th grade recently committed suicide. You see she was being bullied because she came out as a lesbian.
When I first heard about the Trevor Project, I thought to myself, if only I had known about this earlier then I could've helped my friend, I could've done something.
One way I think this can be stopped is to get parents more involved. It's not right to bully, and
I am writing this letter because this bullying thing has been happening a lot and it's time for this to stop. I am very pleased to learn about the work that your organization does. I would love to become a volunteer, or an advocate at any time. Please contact me to advise me of ways that I can get involved and make a difference. Thank you for all you hard work and effort.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
9th Grade Student
Honorable Julian Bond
The American University
Dear Mr. Bond:
I am writing this letter to let you know that I support the marriage between same sex couples. I believe this is a civil rights issue. Since you have always been a supporter for civil rights I hope you believe this way, too.
Discrimination against same sex couples is wrong. Same sex relationships are just as beautiful as opposite sex relationships. As a homosexual male myself, and not only that, but I'm being raised by a same sex couple I want to honor myself and my family.
My mother and her fiancé' are doing a fantastic job raising me and my siblings. What can opposite sex couples teach kids that same sex couples can't?
This topic is really sensitive for me because I've recently come out. I've been teased and discriminated against on more than one occasion. I think that treating someone differently just because they like something different from you is borderline mean. It bothers me that it's a huge million man march when a "homie" from the hood gets killed. It's all over the news and everywhere. But when a transgender is slain with a slit throat at a bus stop, people say absolutely nothing. Maybe you get a "this is a sad world we're coming to" and then someone flips the channel on the television, or the page in the newspaper is turned.
Legalizing gay marriage would be a giant move to help people accept homosexuals as equals. People need to wake up and realize that there are people in the world who are born differently.
What would legalizing gay marriage mean for me? This movement means the world to me. I know of your history with civil rights. I believe that you can offer me sound advice on how I can make same-sex marriage a reality in my lifetime. I hope that you will contact me with information.
Dear Mr. Lake:
I am passionate about ending world hunger and helping needy children. I really appreciate the work that has been done by your organization. I feel that UNICEF is one of the greatest organizations supporting children today and I would love to be a part of it.
UNICEF is over 50 years old but it is still needed today because every year, 15 million children throughout the world die from hunger. Current data suggests that even in America, 1 in 4 children are at risk of starvation.
UNICEF is an organization that not many teenagers around me know about. But now that I know more about it, I feel as though I should inform others. World hunger is something that really affects young people in over 150 countries around the world. From my research I learned what UNICEF really stands for.
I learned that UNICEF is a global humanitarian relief organization providing children with so much to keep them alive like; healthcare, immunizations, clean water, nutrition, food security, education, emergency relief and so much more. That really inspired me to want to help children whose parents can't afford to feed them, or take them to regular doctor visits. I've always wanted to help people that didn't have much in life and to find out that this organization helps children in over 150 countries really makes me want to be a part of something so significant.
If you think about it this organization is saving lives of young people every day. Even though there are still 21,000 children that still die each day from preventable causes, with organizations like UNICEF, this situation will get better.
I would love to participate in the fight to feed and protect young people all over the world because it is something that needs to be done. During the past four years, our economy has more families in poverty and more children suffering. Every day I think about what I can do to help others. Please write to me and let me know what I can do to get involved.
9th Grade Student