Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest

photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is pleased to hold an annual statewide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest.  This contest is intended to encourage students to reflect upon Dr. King’s life, philosophy, and impact on the Civil Rights movement and present day America. It is meant to challenge students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of Dr. King in their own way.

All Ohio students in grades 6-12 are invited to enter this contest and may submit one (1) entry per student.  Students may choose which type of entry they wish to submit.  All contest entries must be accompanied by a clearly written official entry form, completed in its entirety. (Submissions are not considered without a completed entry form).


The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is excited to announce the winners of our 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Essay, and Multimedia Contest! This year's theme was "Standing for What Matters." 

On March 8, 1965, the day after “Bloody Sunday,” on which civil rights protestors were attacked and beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Dr. King said:

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”

His words remind us that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter and doing what is right may not be the easiest choice, but if justice is to prevail, difficult choices must be taken. Dr. King was a leader because he spoke out when others were resigned to silence.

Students were asked to think about times in their lives when they spoke out against an injustice. What impact did it leave on them and your community? 

When have you had or will you have the courage to speak out for something that truly matters?

2020 Contest Winners:

Art Winners:
6th Grade Art: 
Carina Cullen - Charles L. Seipelt Elementary
7th Grade Art: Tieranee Anast - Arlington Local School
8th Grade Art: Andrew Carlson - Lake Center Christian School
9th Grade Art: Rylar Essigner - Arlington Local School
10th Grade Art: Evelyn Flick - Arlington Local School
11th Grade Art: Halle Leroux - Riverside High School
12th Grade Art: Chenoa Newman - Arlington Local School

Essay Winners:
6th Grade Essay: 
Natalie Zinn - Vinton County Middle School
7th Grade Essay: Emily Kovatch - St. Michael's School
8th Grade Essay: Julia Biedenbach - St. Michael's School
9th Grade Essay: Joud Kiwan - Lakota East High School
10th Grade Essay: Maurice Harrison - Eastmoor Academy High School
11th Grade Essay: Emma Krantz - Solon High School
12th Grade Essay: Torre Wilks - Solon High School

Multimedia Winners:
Innocence Dague - Port Clinton High School
Multimedia: Emmett Looman, Liam Looman, and Armaan Tindni - The Schilling School for Gifted Children


Questions? Call us at (888) 278-7101


Dr Frederic BertleyDr Frederic Bertley
Highlights CEO Kent S. JohnsonHighlights CEO Kent S. Johnson
Natalie ZinnNatalie Zinn
Carina CullenCarina Cullen
Carina CullenCarina Cullen
Emily KovatchEmily Kovatch
Emily KovatchEmily Kovatch
Tieranee AnastTieranee Anast
Tieranee AnastTieranee Anast
Julia BiedenbachJulia Biedenbach
Julia BiedenbachJulia Biedenbach
Andrew CarlsonAndrew Carlson
Andrew CarlsonAndrew Carlson
Joud KiwanJoud Kiwan
Joud KiwanJoud Kiwan
Rylar EssingerRylar Essinger
Rylar EssingerRylar Essinger
Maurice HarrisonMaurice Harrison
Maurice HarrisonMaurice Harrison
Evelyn FlickEvelyn Flick
Evelyn FlickEvelyn Flick
Halle LerouxHalle Leroux
Halle LerouxHalle Leroux
Torre WilksTorre Wilks
Chenoa NewmanChenoa Newman
Chenoa NewmanChenoa Newman
Emmett Looman and Liam LoomanEmmett Looman and Liam Looman
Emmett Looman and Liam LoomanEmmett Looman and Liam Looman
Senator Hearcel CraigSenator Hearcel Craig
Natalie ZinnNatalie Zinn
Kaneeka Dalton PaulKaneeka Dalton Paul
Ronald ToddRonald Todd
Zack ReedZack Reed
Chair Lori BarrerasChair Lori Barreras
Torre WilksTorre Wilks
Teaching Winner John WilsonTeaching Winner John Wilson
Teaching Winner John WilsonTeaching Winner John Wilson
All winners group photoAll winners group photo

Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award

The 2020 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award


The 2020 Winner is:

John Wilson

Greene County Career Center - Global Leadership Project
Xenia, OH

The 2020 Excellence in Teaching Diversity nominations are now closed! 

The Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award is given to an Ohio grade 6-12 teacher who demonstrates exemplary dedication to diversity and teaching the lessons of civil rights in the classroom. Any individual may nominate a teacher.

Award Description:

Each recipient of these awards will receive an honorary certificate, a small gift, and recognition at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest awards ceremony.


•  The nominee must be a current or former grade 6-12 teacher at an Ohio school.

Selection Criteria:

Award selection criteria include, but are not limited to:

•  The nominee’s consistent practice of celebrating diversity with students, colleagues, and community members;
•  The nominee’s ability to incorporate the lessons and tenants of the civil rights movement and Ohio’s civil rights laws into the classroom;
•  The nominee’s positive impact on students, particularly in the promotion of academic excellence and community engagement;
•  The nominee's leadership and communication skills;
•  The nominee’s respect and recognition by his/her peers as one who goes above and beyond the normal expectations of a teacher.

Selection Process: 

Nominations will be reviewed by the staff and Commissioners of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The Commissioners will select the winner based on the above criteria. Awards will be announced in January 2020.

Nomination Process: 

Nominators can respond directly to the questions on the following pages or attach a nomination in letter form. Please limit nomination letters to two typed pages. Nomination forms become the property of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and may be shared with the public and the nominee.

Although nomination questions are geared toward older children and adults, we do encourage input from young nominators as well – feel free to attach young student nominations to the completed form.

2020 Deadline: 

Nominations were required to be emailed by 5:00pm on November 1, 2019, or mailed to the following address. Mailed nominations must be postmarked by October 30, 2019.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Attn: PACE - Excellence in Teaching Diversity

30 E. Broad St., 5th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215



For more on the Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award, including previous winners, click here.