UNION, NJ – A special award was presented at Tuesday night’s Township Committee meeting to the winners of the recent Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest, “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere”.   The purpose of the contest, according to Mayor Cavadas, was to encourage residents to reflect on the theme of injustice.

“We received over 100 entries,” said Mayor Suzette Cavadas, “and I’m sure the members of the Cultural Arts Board had a difficult time choosing these winners.”

Writers inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and his vision of uniting people for the good of all submitted their essays for an opportunity to win an expense-paid, day trip to the African American History Museum in Washington, D.C.  Essay contest winners took the trip on Saturday, March 25.

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Winners of the contest:

2nd and 3rd Grade:

1st Place           Vendetta Keyes, Connecticut Farms 
2nd Place          Cristina Moreira, Holy Spirit School

3rd Place          Lilliana Pereira, The Pingry School

Of her trip to the African American History Museum, Christina Moreira said, “we saw where slaves lived and what they used to wear.  I learned a lot.”

4th to 6th Grade:

1st Place            Joy Oledimmah, Kawameeh Middle School 

2nd Place           Belicia Pinkrah, Central Five – Jefferson School

3rd Place           Etera Pendleton, Battle Hill Elementary School

“We saw the struggles black people faced,” added Joy Oledimmah.

7th to 9th Grade:

1st Place            Riya Kumar, Burnet Middle School 

2nd Place           Zoha Arif, Burnet Middle School

3rd Place           Makeda Green, UHS

“The trip to Washington was a very fun and exciting trip,” said Riya Kumar.  “We saw many monuments and the White House.  I also learned a lot from the Black History Museum.”

10th to 12th Grade:

1st Place            Rabia Brown, UHS

2nd Place           Mickeala Bland, UHS

3rd Place           Ala Dorvil, UHS

“I would like to thank the town for giving us this trip,” said Rabia Brown.  “It was a very good learning experience for me.  I was able to see that there’s more to Black History than just slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, including food, music and other things in our culture.  I was fortunate to experience it.”

Adult:
1st Place            Nicole Miceli 

2nd Place           Crystal Moon-Boulware

3rd Place           Kevin Hall and Vendeta Keys

“It was my pleasure and honor to go on this trip,” said Nicole Miceli.  “The National Museum of African American History is a gorgeous, moving space and I hope many more people will visit.”

“As you can see,” said Mayor Cavadas, “the people here didn’t just win trophies and certificates.  They got the opportunity to experience the African American History Museum.  We hope to continue this type of uplifting experience and look forward to providing similar activities in the future.”