For the ninth consecutive year, the United States Embassy in Nassau launched a national high school essay contest in observance of Black History Month to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who worked hard to highlight the importance of equality and human rights for all regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, citizenship and socio-economic status. This year’s contest attracted over one hundred essay submissions from students throughout The Bahamas who were asked the question: “What does equality and human rights mean to you? What can you do to promote equality and human rights in your community and throughout The Bahamas?”
This year, the U.S. Embassy selected two overall winners: Tamia Roberts, a 12th grade student at Doris Johnson High School, and Alexia Johnson, a 12th grade student at Kingsway Academy High School.
Tamia’s winning essay titled“Equality for All” focused on the need for gender equality.
“We cannot keep women and girls on the back burner of society. Women are not second class citizens and must be treated equally. We must realize that by making it better for women, we are making it better for the entire society and the world.”
Alexia’s essay titled “Rekindling the Dream” focused on inequalities that remain in today’s society and her hopes for a brighter tomorrow.
“Equality and human rights mean living in a world where there would be no more stories of Mike Browns and Trayvon Martins and where children within the minority groups are not shot and killed because they look menacing. I ideate a society where I am treated the same as the modern day average white male; where my skin color and gender do not choose my path. I envision a world in which the events which are presently unraveling in North Korea are eradicated. Alexia added, “Most of all, I see equality as a world where everybody is treated the same regardless of their race, sexual preference and gender; a world where every life matters. Equality, in my opinion, needs to become the forefront for not only world governments, but also for the everyday human.”
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Neda Brown made special visits to Doris Johnson High School and Kingsway Academy to present the two winners with the top prize of Microsoft Surface tablets during formal ceremonies with faculty, staff and their peers.
Ethan Knowles, an 11th grade student at Queen’s College finished second in this year’s contest. Third place winners include LaTess Bartlett, an 11th grade student at Mary School of The Sea School on Grand Bahama, and Pavel Bailey, a 12th grade student at Forest Heights Academy on Abaco. All of the runners-up were presented with new Apple iPads. All of the top winners and their respective schools received a DVD documentary on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as educational and Black History Month reading materials.