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The 25th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition

Presented By The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, The Association Of Black Judges Of Michigan, And The Wolverine Bar Association


It is with great pleasure that the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, and the Wolverine Bar Association announce their 25th Annual DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DRUM MAJOR FOR JUSTICE ADVOCACY COMPETITION (“MLK Advocacy Competition” or “Competition”). The membership of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association and the Wolverine Bar Association primarily consists of African-American lawyers who practice in Oakland and Wayne counties. The membership of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan includes African-American judges presiding over courts throughout the State of Michigan. All three organizations endeavor to serve the communities where we live and work.

For 25 years the Associations have combined resources to award more $100,000 to 11th and 12th grade high school students in the Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Thanks to a generous $100,000 endowment provided by the A. Kay Stanfield Spinks Foundation in 2016, this year the first place winner will receive the A. Kay Stanfield Spinks Award of Excellence and a $5,000 scholarship award.

Each year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition Committee, on behalf of the three sponsoring Associations, invite 11th and 12th grade students from select high schools in the Detroit Metropolitan Area to participate in this exciting and worthwhile Competition. The purpose of the MLK Advocacy Competition is to promote oral advocacy among high school students and encourage students to develop and improve their analytical and writing skills.
To participate in the MLK Advocacy Competition, students must submit an essay analyzing an issue using the principles espoused by Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr. Typically, the essay topic relates directly to academic and/or societal realities that some students encounter each day. This year’s essay topic is:

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive today, would he argue President Trump’s Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” is a necessary restriction on the exercise of religious freedom in order to protect our country against acts of terrorism that should be followed?

If not would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. argue that President Trump’s Executive Order is a form of discrimination against religious freedoms and descent that should be overturned?

Each participating student must submit an essay of not more than 1000 words on the above-stated topic. Members of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, and the Wolverine Bar Association will review the essays to select the finalists.
Typically, five finalists are selected. All finalists must compete in the oral advocacy portion of the Competition, scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017, Wayne State University Law School, Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at Wayne Law, 471 W. Palmer St., Detroit, MI 48202. All finalists will be assigned a lawyer mentor to assist them in preparing their oral presentation (three to five minutes) to a panel of judges from Michigan state and/or federal courts, who will rank the finalists based on the content of their presentations and oratorical skills.
Every student who submits an essay will receive a Certificate of Recognition. In addition to a Certificate of Distinction, all finalists will receive a monetary award intended to assist them in achieving their educational goals. In past competitions, cash prize awards ranged from $5,000 to $250. The five finalists who enter the oral competition will also receive a recognition plaque. The first place finalist’s name will be memorialized on a perpetual plaque.
Strict adherence to the stated requirements is necessary. Failure to adhere to the guidelines may result in the disqualification of the submission.
We encourage teachers to consider using this Competition as a starting point for a class project. In the past, students attending various schools in Oakland and Wayne counties have successfully participated in the Competition. We invite all students who submit entries, their families, sponsors, members of the participating Associations, the press, and others to attend the advocacy portion of the Competition.We believe that your students will find involvement in this Competition most rewarding, and we look forward to their participation.

Students or parents of students seeking participate, and schools who wish to have their students participate, should visit the following websites:  strakerlaw.org/mlkcompetition or wolverinebar.org

All essays must be received no later than by 5:00 p.m., March 30_2017.

Should you have any questions regarding the Competition, please do not hesitate to contact Chairperson, Michael K. Jackson, II at (248) 866-5942 or via email at jacksonmi@detroitmi.gov.


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