Congratulations Grand Prize Winner

Leah Messemer receives a 4-year $40,000 scholarship

Click her photo to read the winning essay

About Stop the Hate Youth Speak Out

The Stop the Hate® contest is an initiative of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage that celebrates Northeast Ohio students 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 a prestigious award. Each year about 3,000 students enter, and with the help of 400 volunteer readers, 25 finalists are named. Since the contest started 12 years ago, over 30,000 students in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio have participated, and as of this year, $1.2 million has been awarded. 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. Congratulations to everyone who has shared their inspiring stories with us. If you are inspired by one or more of these students' stories please share them with your social networks. 

Meet the Top 25 Finalists

Congratulations 11th & 12th Grade Runner-Up Winners

1st Runner Up receives a $15,000 scholarship, 2nd Runner Up receives a $10,000 scholarship, 3rd Runner Up receives a $5,000 scholarship

Click their photo to read each winning essay

Congratulations 11th & 12th Grade Honorable Mentions

Each receives a $500 cash prize

Click their photo to read each winning essay

Congratulations 6th - 10th Grade Winners

1st place receives a $400 cash prize, 2nd & 3rd place receive trophies

Click their photo to read each winning essay

Congratulations Newton D. Baker School of Arts

The school with the highest percentage of essays receives a $5,000 Anti-Bias Education Grant 

Congratulations Hudson High School

The grand prize winner's school receives a $5,000 Anti-Bias Education Grant 

Hear the 5 Winning Songs

About Stop the Hate Youth Sing Out

In partnership with Roots of American Music (ROAM) and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Maltz Museum celebrates the voices of young people standing up to bias and bigotry through the annual Stop the Hate® Youth Sing Out contest. 

More than 1,000 students from 17 middle school classes and 25 high school classes representing 14 different schools worked collaboratively within their classes to pen and perform songs as part of an arts-integrated learning initiative. This semester long project begins with a Stop the Hate tour at the Maltz Museum, where students learn about history of bias. Then, students reflect on discrimination they have witnessed or experienced in their own lives. Turning their words into lyrics with a ROAM teaching artist, students perform their original songs on stage at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in front of a panel of prestigious judges and fellow competitors. After they perform, their capstone experience is to learn about the power of music in protest on a tour at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The annual program sharpens written and oral language skills, fosters a deeper understanding of historic human rights events, and offers students the chance to win anti-bias education grants for their schools. Congratulations to all of the participants for using their voices for good!

Congratulations Youth Sing Out Winners

First Place schools receive a $5,000 Anti-Bias Education Grant, Runner-up schools receive a $2,500 Anti-Bias Education Grant 

Click their photo to hear each winning song

We are grateful for the commitment of the sponsors, educators, judges, volunteers, committee members, and Maltz Museum Board Members, without whom this program would not be possible.


Grant Dinner, Chair
Milton Maltz, Chair Emeritus
Tamar Maltz, President
Robert Gries, Vice Chair
Reneé Chelm, Vice President
Keith Libman, Vice President
James Gomez, Treasurer
Barbara Miller, Secretary

Lisa Backlin
Joe Cimperman
Ronald B. Cohen
Mary Ann Corrigan-Davis
Jordan Goldberg
Lois Goodman
David Katz
Alan M. Krause

Kenneth B. Liffman
Darrell McNair
Larry Pollock
Albert B. Ratner
Barbara Robinson
Enid Rosenberg
Irv Rosner
Phil Wasserstrom

Daniel Zelman
Adam Zelwin
Adele Silver, Honorary Trustee
The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.,
     Trustee Emeritus


Rabbi Jonathan Cohen,
     The Temple-Tifereth Israel
Jeff Kaplan,
     Friends of the Maltz Museum

Barry Reis,
     Jewish Federation of Cleveland
Erika Rudin-Luria,
     Jewish Federation of Cleveland

David Schafer,
     Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage


Darrell McNair, Chair
Scott Simon, Vice Chair
Tim Bowens
Sue Kirschener

Gregg Levine
Bobbie Lindenbaum
Enza Roth
Matt Sobel

Joan Szczepanik
Jonathon Wise


We are grateful to the 447 volunteers who generously donated their time to blind-score this year’s Youth Speak Out essays. See a full list of readers.


Antoinette M. Baker, MSM,
     AVP, Operations Manager, PNC
Greer Gibbons, Project Manager – Engine Oils,
     The Lubrizol Corporation

Eduardo Kim, Partner, Thompson Hine
Gregg Levine, Consultant, Ratliff & Taylor
Monyka Price, Chief of Education,
     City of Cleveland

Cecilia Render, Executive Director,
     Nordson Corporation Foundation


Leah Branstetter, Digital Education Manager,
     Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Nikki Claverie, Administrator, The Music Settlement
Jeff Niesel, Music Editor, Cleveland Scene

Ida Mercer, Community Outreach Liaison,
     The Music Settlement
Christelle Saint-Fleur, Community Outreach
     Manager, Center for Arts Inspired Learning

Jazmine Walker, Academic Success Manager,
     Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
Evelyn Wright, Vocalist and Educator


Kevin T. Richards, Artistic Director
Tam Sivertson, Project Assistant
Diana Chittester, Teaching Artist
Ray Flanagan, Teaching Artist

Sam Hooper, Teaching Artist
Kyle Kidd, Teaching Artist
Jason Meyers, Teaching Artist
Afi Scruggs, Teaching Artist

Alisha Stahnke, Teaching Artist
Bethany Svoboda, Teaching Artist
Brian Straw, Recording


Joe Butler, Education Instructor
Deanna Nebel, Education Instructor

Kathryn Clusman, Manager of Community and
     Family Programs and Master of Ceremonies

Mandy Smith, Director of Education

Cleveland Jewish News

Cool Cleveland

Northeast Ohio Parent
Your Teen Magazine


Beth Segal Photography
Blue Robot

College Now Greater Cleveland
Meredith Camp Events

Steven Hacker Films


Presenting Sponsors

Youth Sing Out & Speak Out Signature Sponsors

A stage for stories of struggle, courage, and creativity; a forum for difficult conversations about discrimination and intolerance; and a platform for youth to share their vision for a brighter future, The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage brings history to life, issues to light, and people together. 

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

© 2020 Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage

Maltz Museum