On Thursday, March 30, 2023 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 16 local high school participants of the Manasota Remembers Racial Justice Essay Contest were recognized for their compelling and insightful essays which examined the history of racial injustice and discussing its legacy today.

Students were asked to write a 800-1000 word essay that explained a chosen topic of racial injustice using a specific historical event(s), exploring how the injustice persists, and imagining solutions for a future free from racial injustice.

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) offered this opportunity in partnership with the Sarasota & Manatee Community Remembrance Project (Manasota Remembers) which focuses on memorializing African American victims of racial terror lynching. Communities across our nation have been profoundly impacted by the legacies off the eras of enslavement, racial terror lynching, and segregation in ways that continue to influence our social, political, and personal practices and institutions. EJI and Manasota Remembers are working together to help advance a more truthful understanding of this history.

EJI awarded $5,500 in scholarships to the four winners of the 2023 Racial Justice Essay Contest. Booker High School senior, Nora Mitchell, was awarded 1st place and a $2,500 scholarship. Elijah Roberson, a senior from Palmetto High School was awarded 2nd place and a $1,250 scholarship. Tiffany Anderson (not pictured above), a Sarasota High School senior was awarded 3rd place and a $1,000 scholarship. Hannah Silva, a junior from Suncoast Polytechnical High School was awarded 4th place and a $750 scholarship.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Daniel Molina a senior from Team Success and Noelani Forsythe, a sophomore from Booker High School.

All participants shared with the audience the inspiration for writing their essay and what they learned from thee experience. Nora Mitchell read her winning essay during the ceremony.

Manasota Remembers awarded Nora Mitchell, the first-place contest winner, an all-expense paid trip to Montgomery, AL to visit the EJI headquarters as well as other historic sites such as the EJI Legacy Museum, Rosa Parks Museum and the Southern Poverty Law Center.