The 2015 Visions of Unity contest has ended. See the 2015 winners. Thank you to all those teachers and students who participated in this important contest.
Share your vision of unity, to inspire your peers, see your work published, earn a cash award, and receive public honor among leaders, elected officials, and community. Open only to high school students in Torrance, California.
Literature: Poetry, Essay, and Short Story
Visual Arts: Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, and Computer Graphics
The deadline for entries is January XX, 2016. Artwork will be picked up from TUSD schools on January XX, 2016.
Since 2000, the purpose of the Visions of Unity Contest has been to encourage Torrance youth to reflect on their role in resolving critical community issues, to artistically express their unique ideas and ideals in a way which broadens minds and touches hearts, and to take initiative in enhancing unity among diverse groups within their community.
The Visions of Unity contest was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, whose birthday comes on or near the contest’s deadline every year. Now in its 15th year, the contest continues to engage youth, their families, community leaders, education providers, sponsors and donors in the power of artistic expression to cross cultural boundaries and forge new bonds as members of one human family, to explore ways individuals can work together to cultivate greater healing, harmony, and understanding within their communities.
Entries should depict the need for and benefits of intercultural or interracial harmony and reflect on resolving critical community issues. Your contribution should convey your ideas, feelings, or personal stories about unity, compassion, understanding, cooperation, etc. among people in our society today, and, if appropriate, reflect on your role as change agents in these arenas. Creativity is important, so please avoid standard portraits or mere biographies of civil rights leaders If you need a little inspiration, here are some specific themes you can focus on if you wish:
1. MULTI-CULTURAL – Describe unique multi-cultural experiences you have had and what others can learn from your experiences. Has living in a foreign country and experiencing other cultures changed you for the better? What about having parents from different races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, parts of the world, or other distinguishing backgrounds?
2. TORRANCE – Diversity in Torrance. How and why do our many differences make the city better? How is Torrance different from other cities in terms of how well different communities get along here.
3. THEN VS. NOW – 1950’s and 60’s civil rights efforts and where we are today. Is there anything left to do? What? Why? How?
4. DISCRIMINATION – Tell us about discrimination you may have personally experienced that shaped your convictions and the steps you’ve taken to create visions of unity. What do you think society could do to prevent future discrimination against you and people like you. How did your experience help you realize the role we each personally play in creating a vision of unity?
5. INTER-GENERATIONAL – How has your own family changed in terms of tolerance? Have they become less or more open to people who are different than them? What can your family’s experiences teach others about how to achieve more unity?
6. ORIGINS – Where does being open minded and loving come from? How can we develop more of these positive traits in our area?
7. SOCIAL MEDIA / TECHNOLOGY – Have social media and new technologies made it easier or more difficult to achieve a vision of unity in our area? Can we manage social media and technology to cultivate greater harmony and understanding among our diverse communities?
We want to see your honesty and thoughtfulness as well as your artistic and literary talents to communicate and express ideals in a way that broadens minds and touches hearts. Short Story and Poetry entries, especially, should reflect a metaphorical, fictional, or personal incident.
Entries will be judged by professionals according to the following criteria: 1) effective treatment of the theme; 2) originality and creative use of the medium; and 3) mastery of the art form, including grammar and technical details.
Enter the Contest
The deadline for all entries is Friday, January XX, 2016. The contest entry form is available at http://visionsofunity.com/enter-the-contest (or click the “Enter the Contest” link at the top of the page). Literature entries must be submitted online. Each art contestant must attach a completed contest entry form to his/her art work, which will be picked up from your school on January XX, 2016 by a Visions of Unity representative. Students may submit no more than one entry per category.
All contestants who place 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or Honorable Mention will orally present committee-selected excerpts from their work at the Monday, March XX, 2016 Visions of Unity Awards Celebration. Their published work will appear in the annual Visions of Unity literary anthology. Winners will also receive cash awards, thanks to the generosity of the sponsors below. In the last 15 years, more than 400 students have received awards and over $25,000 in cash prizes.
Winning art entries may also be displayed in the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library showcase (if they fit on the 2′ high shelves).
Partners and Donors
The Human Relations Forum of Torrance, along with community partners, seeks to celebrate diversity, promote education and understanding while cultivating a sense of belonging for the diverse population of Torrance.
Community partners include Torrance Memorial Medical Center, the Volunteer Center, South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach, Torrance Unified School District, League of Women Voters Torrance Area, and Palos Verdes Chapter of The Links, Inc.
Donations for awards to the winners from:
Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Toyota Motor Sales USA, Welch and Company Accountancy Corporation, Ruth Vogel, Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Shirley and Chih-Ming Ho, Patricia Kromka, Jean Adelsman, Palos Verdes Chapter of The Links, Inc., Shirley Starke Wallace, Bahá’ís of Manhattan Beach, Bahá’ís of Torrance, Janet Baszile, Ashcraft Design, Kamy Akhavan
Contest Coordinator: Lea Ann King
Student Reading-in-the-Round Editor: Teresa Langness
Prose Judges: Jean Adelsman, Kamy Akhavan, Julia Matthews-Manor
Poetry Judges: Ruth Vogel, Dolores Caffey-Fleming
Art Judges: Heidi Ashcraft and Ashcraft Design
Torrance Unified School District Liaisons: Tammy Khan, Terry Ragins
Facilities/Torrance Memorial Medical Center Liaison: Shirley Ho
Refreshments: Palos Verdes Chapter of The Links, Inc.
Geissert Library Art Display: Ruth Vogel
Fiscal Agent: De De Hicks, Volunteer Center South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach
Contest Technology Supervisor: Kamy Akhavan
Anthology Editors: Kamy Akhavan and Teresa Langness
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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