Winners of AARLCC’s 2014 Black History Month Essay & Art Competition

contest-winnersWinners of AARLCC’s 2014 Black History Month Essay & Art Competition

L-R: Vernitha Charles, Raul Garcia, Madeleine Falick, Jewel Murray, Sophia Feliciano-Bonilla and Ramiyah Rose.                                                     (Photo by Steve Vinik)

From Nicholas Sakhnovsky

      BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Three young essay writers and three young artists were selected to win this year’s 2014 Black History Month Essay & Art Competition at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC). On Feb. 8, a ceremony was held in the auditorium where the confident young people read their essays or described their artwork. And then, following a short but dynamic program by story-teller Tamara Green, they received their exciting, electronic prizes. The contest was sponsored by the Friends of AARLCC with prizes courtesy of Best Buy.

The youngsters were selected from three different age categories and the subject of their assignment was “What Do Civil Rights in America Today Mean to You?” They were asked to consider the ongoing impact that the civil rights era has on the lives of Americans today. This year, for the first time, there was an art com-petition as well as an essay competition, which provided three additional winners.


The winners of the 2014 Black History Month Essay Competition:

Category: Grades 4-6

Ramiyah Rose, Grade 4, Collins Elementary School

In her essay, Miss Rose said, “Yes, my civil rights would still be available if no one fights for them because I will fight for them and I won’t let anyone stand in my way. The way I would change the laws and customs would be by becoming the president of the United States of America and to have the House of Representatives work with me to change the laws.”

Category: Grades 7-9

Madeleine Falick, Grade 9, Coral Springs High School

Miss Falick wrote that, “Without civil rights, the United States would be overwhelmingly different. How we would look to the rest of the world, how we would ultimately feel about ourselves, even everyday life would not be the same. Barack Obama would not be the President, Blacks would not enter the same universities, Black athletes would not stay at the same hotel as their fellow players, and women could not vote.”

Category: Grades 10-12

Raul Garcia, Grade 12, William T. McFatter Technical High School

In his essay, Mr. Garcia wrote that “Support groups like ‘Silence Hurts’ and ‘Amnesty International’ have emerged to support and encourage the op-pressed in their fight for individuals’ civil rights; the very same fight that great leaders like Harvey Milk and Gloria Steinem fought decades ago. Those discriminated, rejected or hazed members of society must still endure the daily fight to defend their Civil Rights. As Martin Luther King once said, ‘The day you don’t stand up for what matters is the day your life ends.’”


The winners of the 2014 Black History Month Art Competition:

Category: Grades 4-6

Sophia Feliciano-Bonilla, Grade 4, Rick & Rita Case Boys and Girls Club

In her art, Miss Feliciano-Bonilla made a collage of African-American civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with his words, “I Have a Dream,” along with Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks, surrounded by bright colors and peace symbols.

Category: Grades 7-9

Jewel Murray, Grade 7, Mt. Olivet SDA Junior Academy

Miss Murray pictured two hands from people of different races, joined together, forming a heart between them with the earth in the background surrounded by rainbow rays of light. The title is “Equality, Freedom and Justice for All” with the subtitle of “Civil Rights.”

Category: Grades 10-12

Vernitha Charles, Grade 10, Dillard High School

In her art, Miss Charles drew a power fist with rainbow bands around the wrist and national flags on the curled fingers, under the title, “Unity,” with a caption saying, “ONE Nation Under God.”

     More photos of the event and complete essays are available upon request. Contact Steve Vinik, 954-357-6190 or email The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is located at 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale; phone (954) 357-2810.



About Carma Henry 21248 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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