for Northeast Ohio 6-12th Graders

You have the power to make a positive difference in the world.

We want to know how you have been and can continue to be an agent of positive change. Honestly and thoughtfully respond to the prompt 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.

Submission Deadline Dates:

Grades 6-10 essay: Thursday, February 8, 2024

Grades 11 & 12 essay: Thursday, February 15, 2024

"I no longer believe that we can change anything in the world until we have first changed ourselves." - Etty Hillesum

Etty Hillesum was a young, Jewish-Dutch woman who wrote diaries in Amsterdam during the Second World War. In 1943, she was murdered at Auschwitz, at only 29 years old. Etty believed internal personal change was a necessary first step to bringing about positive change in the world, and that this was the main lesson to be learned from the Holocaust. Etty bears witness to what it means to be human and commits herself to a radical choice: not to hate, even as she opens her heart to the horrors unfolding around her.

In honor of Etty’s message, we ask you to share your story.

For the essay contest: In 500 words or less:

  • Describe a moment of injustice, bias, discrimination, or exclusion: something you witnessed or experienced, or a time when you learned about an unjust situation or event that affected you or others.
  • How did this moment impact the people involved? What kind of personal change does this experience inspire in you?
  • How can your personal change lead you to make positive changes in your community and the world? (How have you or will you affect others positively?)

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Step 1 of 4
Student Information

Have you won a Stop the Hate essay award before?

Did your class take a Stop the Hate writing workshop with Lake Erie Ink?

Step 2 of 4
School/Teacher Information

Please begin with your school name—as you type, a list of school names will appear. Please click on your school to complete this field. In most cases, the address, city, zip, county and school district will fill in automatically.

If your school name does not appear, please fill in the required information.

If you attend a school beginning “Saint” please type “St”.

If this essay was assigned in school, please enter the teacher's first and last name who assigned it to you. If you are submitting on your own, please enter your English or Social Studies/History teacher's name

Step 3 of 4

Copy and paste the essay text below. Do not include your name or school name anywhere in the essay. Essays are limited to 500 words; you will not be able to complete your entry if the essay is over the word limit.

Step 4 of 4
Parent/Guardian Consent

If the contest participant is under the age of 18, parental/guardian consent is required. Type your full name to electronically sign your child’s submission. By submitting your electronic signature you are agreeing to the contest rules.

Let your friends know you are participating in the Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out essay contest!

Maltz Museum