About the Stop the hate Contest

What is the Stop the hate contest?

Now in its 13th year, the Stop the Hate® contest is comprised of of two components: Youth Speak Out Essay Writing Contest and Youth Sing Out Songwriting Contest. Both celebrate Northeast Ohio students in sixth to twelfth grade who are committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society by standing up and speaking out against bias and bigotry as they compete for the chance to win prestigious awards.

Each year about 3,000 students enter, and with the help of 400 volunteer readers, 25 finalists are named. Since the contest started over 30,000 students in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio have participated, and $1.2 million has been awarded to students and schools.

Rooted in the Jewish value of respect for all humanity, the Maltz Museum is proud that it continues to give young people of all faiths and backgrounds a platform to speak out in support of inclusion and diversity.

What is the Songwriting contest and how do i enter?

Youth Sing Out Songwriting Contest is a classroom based group competition for sixth to twelfth grade students. In order to enter, classrooms must participate in a free online workshop and work with a teaching artist from Roots of American Music to pen an original song. This song becomes the class submission to the contest and is judged by a panel of music experts selected in partnership with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Winning classrooms receive anti-bias education grants for their school and are invited to perform on the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame stage.

Important Dates & Deadlines
Workshops can be scheduled as early as: Wed, September 9th, 2020
Songs must be submitted by: Fri, March 19, 2021

Official Rules and Judging Criteria
Grade 6-12 Rubric

what are the prizes for the songwriting contest?

All participating schools receive money:
Every Northeast Ohio school within the 12 country radius that participates in a workshop package or uses Stop the Hate learning progression in their classroom is eligible to receive anti-bias education grant money from a pool of $30,000 that will be split evenly.

Winners in middle and high school categories receive anti-bias education grants:
1st place in both categories receives $3,500 and an invitation to perform at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
2nd place in both categories receives $2,000

Everyone who participates receives recognition:
Participating students & schools receive congratulatory upstander certificates that can be printed.

Teacher of the Year to be named:
New this year, the Museum will present a $1,000 cash prize to the Stop the Hate Youth Sing Out Teacher of the Year for personal commitment to anti-bias education.



What is the Essay contest?

Youth Speak Out Essay Writing Contest invites sixth to twelfth grade students to pen a personal essay in 500 words or less about bias they have witnessed or experienced and share what they have done or will do in response. Any sixth to twelfth grade student may participate as long as they live within Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, and Wayne counties. Students compete to win scholarships for themselves and anti-bias education grants for their school.

How do I Enter the Essay contest?

Teachers: Book a Free Online Workshop to Start the Process
Help your students get the most out of the Stop the Hate program. We now offer free online essay writing workshops with Lake Erie Ink. Learn more and book your workshop.

Students: Respond to the Essay Prompt
This year we honor the memory and spirit of legendary civil rights leader and human rights advocate John Lewis who famously said in his autobiography Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, "I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful."

We want to know what you believe. Tell us how you have been and can continue to be an agent of positive change. Honestly and thoughtfully respond to the questions below. Share what you’ve learned through your life experiences and tell how you’ll apply that knowledge in helping to create a brighter future.

In 500 words or less, think about your own life. Have you witnessed or experienced acts of injustice, racism, bigotry, or discrimination? How were you impacted by what you experienced, saw, or heard? What did you do, or what will you do, in response to these circumstances in order to create justice and positive change in your community?

How to Enter
Submit your entry using the official entry form.

Important Dates & Deadlines
Contest Opens: Wed, September 9th, 2020
Deadline Grade 6-10: Fri, March 19, 2021
Deadline Grade 11-12: Fri, March 26, 2021

Official Rules and Judging Criteria
Grade 6-10 Rubric
Grade 11-12 Rubric

what are the prizes for the essay writing contest?

All participating schools receive money:
Every Northeast Ohio school within the 12 country radius that participates in a workshop package or uses Stop the Hate learning progression in their classroom is eligible to receive anti-bias education grant money from a pool of $30,000 that will be split evenly.

Top scoring students receive individual awards and their schools receive anti-bias education grants:

Top Ten Awards for Grades 11 & 12
Grand Prize Winner: $20,000 scholarship
Student’s school: $5,000

First Runner Up: $10,000 scholarship
Student’s school: $2,000

Second Runner Up: $5,000 scholarship
Student’s school: $2,000

(7) Honorable Mentions: $1,000 cash prize
Students’ schools: $500 each

Top Awards for Grades 6 – 10
1st place winners (in each grade): $500 cash prize
2nd place winners (in each grade): Trophy


All winning students receive a free family membership to the Maltz Museum for one year.

Everyone who participates receives recognition:
Participating students & schools receive congratulatory upstander certificates that can be printed.

Teacher of the Year to be named:
New this year, the Museum will present a $1,000 cash prize to the Stop the Hate Youth Speak Out Teacher of the Year for personal commitment to anti-bias education.



The Maltz Museum is supported by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and Ohio Arts Council

© 2020 Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage