Thirty-three students from more than a dozen high schools from around New Mexico have been chosen to receive $1,000 scholarships as part of this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural Celebration today from 1-3 p.m. at Congregation Albert, 3800 Louisiana Blvd. in Albuquerque.
Judges selected the winners from hundreds of submitted 500-word essays on civil rights, diversity and community pride.
The scholarship program is an ideal way for the recipients to continue to learn, understand and “promote Dr. King’s legacy on an ongoing basis,” said Joycelyn Jackson, the council’s spokeswoman and president.
Excerpts from some of the submitted essays follow.
⋄ “Dr. King taught me to fight for the right thing, even if no one believes in you. He showed me that giving up is not an option, even when I really want to. He shows there will always be challenges and obstacles in my way, but I will overcome them.”
⋄ “To do anything meaningful, I need to believe in myself. My confidence must come from a place of authenticity and love. Dr. King’s quote means that, if I feel hatred towards myself, I can never diminish the hatred around me.”
⋄ “Dr. King made me question the present day world, because he fought with such elegance and showed that vengeance and rage was never the solution.”
⋄ “We should not be afraid or ashamed to be who we are. We may be different, but we all have something so special to share, and to contribute to this world.”
⋄ “Dr. King has shown me that change is not something that comes right away, but that one must push change and make sacrifices to achieve one’s goal.”
⋄ “Dr. King reminds us that our schools must serve all students equally so that our community may prosper as a whole. Likewise, the diversity of our student body should be celebrated, not vilified.”
⋄ “Dr. King used the one thing he had, his voice. Activism is not about a single person’s capabilities, but what a person already has.”
⋄ “We live in a time where racial tensions are peaking and division sits in America like a welcomed guest. But with every night, there is a dawn, and a morning reckoning. To change a culture you must be patient, for years of hatred are not easily reversed.”
This year’s scholarship sponsors include: Diane Gibson, Albuquerque City Councilor; Bank of America; Bernalillo County; Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc.; Modrall Sperling Roehl Harris & Sisk P.A.; Second Presbyterian Church; Smith’s Food and Drug Stores; University of New Mexico, Division for Equity and Inclusion; Wayne A. Johnson, Commissioner, Bernalillo County; Wells Fargo; In Memory of Christopher M. Torres, In Memory of Milton S. Hall, Sponsors Stephen and Renetta Torres; In memory of Tony Pakinkis, Sponsored by Congregation Albert; Mitchell, Olsen and Richardson Memorial Scholarships; Silvio G. Dell’Angela Scholarship; the Rio Rancho Community Foundation; and PNM.
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