sclc, southern christian leadership conference of southern california,

Church Youth Invited to Enter Essay, Oratory and Original Art Context for a Chance to Win a $500 Grant for Their Church

*Los Angeles, CA – The SCLC of Southern California Emerging Leaders are on a mission to revitalize the dream of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 2015-16 Essay & Oratorical and Art Contests.

The organization announced today that the church with the most qualifying contest applications and entries will receive a grant for $500.00.  In addition, a limited edition book of a collection entries will be published through this partnership with Toyota and Northrup Gruman.

“Oftentimes, we fail to pay homage to the fact that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian pastor,” said Jamie Wright, Committee Chair, SCLC-SC Emerging Leaders.

“Undoubtedly his great oratory skills were developed in the pulpit of the Church he grew up in.  As the daughter of a pastor, this resonates with me as I too got my start with public speaking in the church I grew up in with Easter speeches and bible jeopardy contests.

I strongly believe that the SCLC has to tap into the faith-based community and encourage the youth in local churches to participate in a contest that can sharpen their skill set and support their church family if they win the grant. And who knows, the next great orator of our time maybe sitting in a pew in church on Sunday morning.  It would be a shame if they missed the opportunity to showcase that talent!”

 The contests were designed by the SCLC-SC to encourage youth to learn even more about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and recognize the significant impact his life and work had on America. 

The contests’ theme is “Bending the Arc and Breaking the Barriers for Justice in the 2016 Presidential Election” and are open to all Southern California middle and high school students to compete in two categories:  Grades 6 through 8 and Grades 9 through 12. 

Entries must be submitted no later than Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.  The application and official rules can be found at or use this link:

A maximum of twenty-five (25) entries will be selected from each age group to participate in the live Essay & Oratorical semi-finals on Saturday, January 9, 2016.  Six of these entries will be selected to advance to the live finals on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.  In addition, Original Artwork entries will be on display and judged at the live finals.  A first, second, and third place winner will be selected from each age group and will win $500, $375 and $125 respectively in each contest. 

All winning students will be recognized at the SCLC-SC Legacy Awards Benefit Gala January 18, 2016 with the Essay & Oratorical Grand Prize Winner reciting all or a portion of their winning essay, and the Original Art Grand Prize Winner’s entry on display.

Applications and essays must submitted via email to Juanita Hamilton at [email protected] with a copy also submitted to Jamie Wright at [email protected].  Applications and essays must be sent to both individuals in order to qualify.  Failure to follow these exact rules will result in automatic disqualification. 

For more information regarding the SCLC-SC Emerging Leaders Youth Essay & Oratorical and Original Art Contests and King Legacy Week Festival 2016 send an email to: [email protected].




Zabrina Horton
[email protected]com