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Members (who have paid their membership fee) are advised to sign up here and give proper details for payment, etc.

We send physical checks to physical locations only at this time and prefer professional mailing addresses to personal mailing addresses.

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CONTEST RULES

  • Essay prompts will be announced on Tuesdays at 4 pm Eastern via YouTube beginning February 2, 2021.

  • Length: Your essay should be at least 1,000 words but should not exceed 1,250 words (word count does not apply to the list of sources). The word count must be included in the document you submit.

  • Content and Judging: Submissions will be judged on the quality of analysis, quality of research, and form, style, and mechanics. Successful entries will answer all aspects of the prompt and demonstrate an understanding of the essay prompt. The top five essays from each school will advance to the final round of judging that will determine the First, Second, and Third-Place winners. All qualifying essays will be judged blindly through several rounds of judging. All decisions of the judges are final.

  • Sources: Essays should use a variety of sources—academic journals, news magazines, newspapers, books, government documents, publications from research organizations. Bibliographies are required and you will need to incorporate at least three primary sources. General encyclopedias, including Wikipedia, are not acceptable as sources. Essays citing general encyclopedias in notes or bibliography will be disqualified. Websites should not be the only source of information for your essay.

  • Submission: Fill out the registration form. All fields on the online form are required, including uploading a PDF file of your original work with a title, in English which should include a comprehensive list of sources consulted. Entries must be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman with a one-inch margin on all sides of the page. You may submit one essay for each prompt, or just one essay for one prompt.

    • Do not place your last name or your school’s name on any of the pages of the essay. Only the registration form should include this information.

    • Faxed or emailed submissions will not be accepted.

    • Your essay will be disqualified if it does not meet the requirements or is submitted after the submission date of 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 3, 2021. This program will repeat and the next submission date will be announced in April 2021.

    • Eligibility: Students in grades 7 through 12.

  • Teachers: Student registration forms must include a teacher’s name. The teacher may (and should) review the essay and act as the key contact between their student-participant and Educational Partnerships to Impact Children, Inc. It is to the student’s advantage to have a teacher review the essay to make sure it is complete, contains all the necessary information, is free from typographical and grammatical errors, and addresses the topic.

  • Prizes

    • First-Place: The First-Place winner receives $650 and their teacher receives $325

    • Second-Place: The Second-Place winner receives $250 and their teacher receives $125

    • Third-Place: The Third-Place winner receives $100 and their teacher receives $50

    • Winners will be announced on this page on May 15, 2021 and checks disseminated within two weeks of this date. 

  • Your essay will become the property of Educational Partnerships to Impact Children, Inc. once it is submitted, and will not be returned.

  • Thank you for your essay submission and good luck!

“Don’t Boo, Vote” Has Evolved Into “Don’t March, Strategize!”

This will offend some of you, but here we go . . .

trump-photo-washington-post-2007

We have reached a point in America where if you are not white, not male, or not straight, that you should be thinking deeply about your immediate and long-term future. Even if you are all of those things, you should still be skeptical about the future of our country.

Clearly, there is more than a healthy amount of fear and anger coming from the majority of the population who did not vote for President-Elect Donald Trump, either because they voted for his opponent, Secretary Hillary Clinton—who won the popular vote—or because they did not vote at all—which is an entirely different and sad topic to be discussed at another time. Last night, all across America, people protested the election results insisting that Trump is not their President.

I agree, Trump is not your President, but on January 20, 2017 at 12:01 PM, he will be! There is no amount of walking around outside in anger that is going to change that, nor should it. Likewise, had Secretary Clinton won the election and Trump supporters protested, the election results would not have been changed, nor should they. Marching and chanting and singing has the potential to make one feel good for awhile maybe, but has not been effective in creating change since the 1950s and ’60s.

  • Occupy Wall Street participants lived outside, marched, and chanted for a year . . . the banks are still open and the 1% is still thriving.
  • Black Lives Matters participants march every time there is a high profile unjustified police shooting that results in the murder of a black life . . . but if this was working, then they would not keep having to march and blacks would not keep dying at the hands of the police.
  • Several celebrities and community leaders lead marches to the polls in support of Clinton . . . and she still lost.

Marching/1960s style protesting is not a plan, it is an action that accomplishes little (at best). After you march around singing songs, shouting, burning things, and getting arrested, 1) your feet will ache, 2) your throat will be sore, 3) you will have risked your credibility and freedom, and 4) Trump will still be your President. Yes, YOUR President . . . or at the very least, the President of the country that you love and that you are worried to see him lead or else you would not be out there in the first place.

Some of you think that because of your actions Trump will not take office come January. This is false. Some of you have gone as far as to wish death on the President-Elect. Not only is this “deplorable,” but it is unlikely, dangerous, and hypocritical for someone who thinks that Trump and (many of) his supporters are mean-spirited and sinister.

My position is as follows:

  1. We must figure out how to get and maintain the attention of those who have influence. This will likely look differently in every community. Not only is each community different in terms of its power structure, but each demographic may need to appeal to a different influential person or group; all people cannot champion all causes or nothing will actually get done (see Occupy Wall Street).
  2. We must resist the temptation to walk around outside and shout (unless this is part of a larger plan). Protests like these happen frequently because they require very little commitment or strategy and anyone can participate; they are often the result of an emotional response. People leave these protests feeling accomplished, yet the work remains undone.
  3. We must avoid shutting out those who can help us because of our own racism and stereotyping. This includes not presenting the worst among us to the media. Just like we present our best selves at a job interview for instance, we need to present the best among us to the general public from whom we are asking for aid (see the Black Panther Party). The success of the civil rights movement was in leadership’s understanding of presenting only those characters who would be seen as sympathetic to potential supporters as well as to those who opposed them. One never can tell who may be a key contributor in reaching one’s objectives.
  4. We must attract people from a multitude of professions with a multitude of abilities. A successful and sustainable movement needs to look like an inclusive and well-developed community.
  5. There needs to be leadership. Leaderless movements have proven themselves to be ineffective in producing desired outcomes.

The other points are more targeted towards specific communities. Please feel free to use me as a resource, even if you do not agree with me. Good plans usually require some give and take.

There are steps that need to be taken NOW in order to protect those who are likely to lose a great deal under a Trump Administration. We need to be thinking about what happens from 2017 until, well, who knows?! His presidency could last up to eight years, and his policies and SCOTUS selections could leave our communities decimated for decades.

Let’s not just talk about what needs to be done, let’s work!

In Solidarity,

Dr. Kenneth A. Pierce

Archer High School: Lawrenceville, GA.

This has been a terrible week for race relations given what has transpired with Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, East Coast bombings and Mid-West stabbings, and now racial threats against Black students in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

I will not say a lot about the Archer High School incident because this case (and the linked article) speaks for itself. It is clear that something must be done very quickly, but what? Today, many of Archer’s students dressed in black in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The students are clearly ready to make a change on their campus and I will be there to give them a voice with the administration. On Monday at 8:00am I will have a meeting with Archer’s Principal, Mr. Ken Johnson where I will present him with our issues and seek solutions.

As someone who has been formally trained in organizing and protest, I have several ideas of my own. But this is not my fight alone. I am asking that the students and parents of Archer High School please use this space to communicate to me what it is that you would like to see happen. In turn, I will summarize your desires and present them to Principal Johnson on Monday. We will not let racists or racism make us afraid to earn an education! We will succeed together!

In Solidarity,

Dr. Pierce

unity-hands

Mizzou Victory Serves as an Example of How to Create a Successful Movement

(Photo: Daniel Brenner, AP)
(Photo: Daniel Brenner, AP)

Today two of the themes that I continue to raise in social media and in circles of scholars and friends became even more evident: a social movement cannot be successful without leverage, and sometimes the creation of leverage requires collaboration.

Earlier today The University of Missouri’s system’s president, Tim Wolfe, resigned his post due to accusations of racial insensitivity pertaining to issues on and around Mizzou’s campus. This accomplishment should be taken as a step in the right direction, and the students (and cooperative faculty and staff) on Mizzou’s campus should be very proud of their work.

But social movement scholars and black activists alike should clearly see two very important elements of this movement that is often lacking in many of the recent attempts for social change that people (especially people of color) make.

  1. The students organizing at Mizzou made a clear demand that could realistically be met. Calling for the president’s job was lofty, but obviously achievable, even if no one saw today’s announcement coming (especially not this quickly). The president’s resignation did not, by itself, fix any issues. However, the next president at Mizzou will have to demonstrate, among other things, that they are willing to work in the best interest of black students.
  2. The students at Mizzou were able to actually create leverage by getting the university’s football team involved; this includes non-black student-athletes. With the understanding that football activities would grind to a halt until Wolfe was out of office created a real threat to Mizzou, resulting in swift and strong action. CNN reported that Mizzou was going to lose $1M this weekend alone if the football team did not play.

Too often, a movement’s leadership creates an unwinnable situation by not clearly asking for some direct outcome, or, goes through great lengths like spending a year in the park while asking for the dismantling of the US government. Requests are often either too much or not enough–and usually come from groups with no leverage which creates no incentive for the power structure to acquiesce. Black social movements especially tend to reject support from non-blacks, and as a result miss out on opportunities to create or borrow leverage.

That said, we should not–even for one minute–see Wolfe’s firing as an act of sympathy toward the black community. Instead, it is a big business sacrificing a figure head in order to protect its investment. Without football, especially in the SEC, and without the ability to widely recruit football players going forward, coupled with the threat of the reduction of alumni support, Mizzou would have suffered greatly.

Once again . . .

#GreenbacksMatter

The Black Panther Party Didn’t Protect Black Lives With Hashtags

The comparisons between the #BlackLivesMatter movement The Black Panther Party for Self Defense should begin and end with the idea that both were spawned by police brutality.

In the 1960s, the Panthers formed patrols in order to help protect Blacks from being beaten and killed by the police. They used the law, especially the Second Amendment, to keep Blacks safe.

Black Panther PartyIn the age of social media, we are now able to organize and strategize like never before; the internet is a great tool for a social movement (e.g. Arab Spring). The internet is also a great impediment. The problem is that real activism cannot happen from your sofa, bedroom, or bathroom. With the internet, anyone can be made to feel like they are a part of a movement by actions as simple as posting a #Hashtag.

Black Lives Matter

Creating awareness via social media is only one part organizing a successful social movement.

The more comfortable that we get with our technological shortcuts, the less we actually work, the fewer results we gain. Do you think that Marcus Garvey or Dr. King would have opted to fight for equality primarily over social media if they would have had the choice. Do you think that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale would have been content with the creation of awareness?

When is the last time that we have seen a social movement achieve great success in the US? Is there any reason to believe that #BlackLivesMatter won’t meet the same fate as #Occupy? What are the strengths and weaknesses of Black Lives Matters’ strategy?

Your thoughts . . .

‘Black Lives’ Without Mainstream Support

Can #BlackLivesMatter survive without the support of the mainstream media etc.?

In the US, I cannot think of a social movement that has been successful without being palatable to a wide audience. Black Lives Matter is being hurt by some of its proponents who have conflated pro-Black sentiment with anti-White hate rhetoric.

Still, I agree that there has to be a line drawn between Black lives and ‘all lives.’ As it is with most things, it is not what you do, its how you do it. If Black Lives Matter expects to make any traction they will have to tone down the hateful rhetoric, and make peace with the mainstream.

What’s your take?