YONKERS, NY – January 15, 2020 – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada today launched the 2020 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Poem/Essay/Video Contest. Yonkers students are encouraged to submit essays, poems or videos reflecting this year’s Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” as it speaks to the ongoing struggle on the part of both black men and women throughout American History.

“Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1957 speech ‘Give Us the Ballot’outlined a strategy for justice that extended through the 1960s and beyond,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “African Americans faced official and unofficial restrictions until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was established. However, today we have federal protections that help to ensure every American has an equal voice in the political process. This year, in particular, I’m excited to see how students will be able to express their views on voting rights while incorporating Dr. King’s message through a poem, essay or video.”

The Mayor’s African American Advisory Board select one poem from grades 1-4, one essay from grades 5-8 and one video from grades 9-12. The winning poem, essay and video will be displayed at Yonkers City Hall and online for Yonkers residents to enjoy. Winners will be presented a certificate from Mayor Spano and will be asked to present their work at the City’s Annual Black History Month Celebration at Yonkers City Hall on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 6:00 pm.

Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools stated, “As educators, we have the responsibility to assist our students in finding their voice, expressing their opinions and to be relentless in standing up for tolerance and civil rights.  Dr. King, Jr. will forever be the beacon for nonviolent protest, unyielding in his commitment to civil rights for all people.  The Mayor’s annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Poem/Essay/Video Contest provides an opportunity for Yonkers children to research and emulate Dr. King’s work.”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Poem/Essay/Video Contest is open to all primary and secondary Yonkers students; only one poem, essay or video may be submitted per student. Guidelines and specifications for the contest can be found at Poem and video submissions are due Friday, February 14, 2020 and may be emailed, dropped off to the Mayor’s Office or by mail to MLK, Jr. Contest, Mayor’s Office, City Hall, 2nd Floor, 40 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701. Winners will be notified on February 21.