NYCLU Announces Winners of Annual Youth Expression Contest

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
July 8, 2010 12:00 am

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NEW YORK — The New York Civil Liberties Union today announced the winners of its annual Freedom of Expression contest, which invited young people in New York City to channel their creativity toward defending and expanding civil liberties in New York State and nationwide.

The annual contest, funded by a grant from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, asks youth to explore a topic relevant to their lives and related to civil rights and liberties. This year, the contest asked young people: What is change you can believe in? Entries covered a wide range of issues, including LGBT rights, racial justice, reproductive freedom and immigration.

“To see so many young people express a passionate commitment to civil liberties and social justice is inspiring,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director. “Each of these winners tackled complex issues with intelligence, clarity and conviction. The NYCLU is proud to be a vehicle for their talent and creativity.”

The awards will be presented to contest winners on Monday, July 26 at the NYCLU’s annual Broadway Stands Up for Freedom! benefit concert. Dozens of Broadway’s finest – including musical director Seth Rudetsky and leading actors from Hair, Next to Normal, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Finian’s Rainbow, Rent and Passing Strange will take to the stage to salute the students and the NYCLU’s youth programs.

This year 700 students submitted entries – the most in the contest’s history. The submissions were judged in four categories: written word, poetry, visual arts and multimedia.

The contest was open to New York City youth 21 years old and younger. First-prize winners in each category received $500; second-prize winners, $200; and third-prize winners, $75.


Written Word:

1st Place (Tie): “Building Homes” Ella Cheng, 16, Jamaica, Queens – Hunter College High School; “Metamorphosis” Yuna Park, 16, Bronx – The Bronx High School of Science

2nd Place: “Silence So Loud, Speaks So Proud” Lily Gellman, 16, Manhattan – The Beacon School

3rd Place: “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” Yasmin Kelly, 15, Brooklyn – LaGuardia High School


1st Place: “Unidentified Identity” Angy Rivera, 19, Flushing, Queens – John Jay College/New York State Youth Leadership Council

2nd Place: “The Right to Life” Kwesi J. Walker-McKie, 16 – LaGuardia High School

3rd Place: “Like Cattle” Camonghne Felix, 18, Bronx – Bronx Community High School

Visual Arts:

1st Place: “Profiling” or “Fault” – Phyllis Yao, 16, Manhattan – LaGuardia High School

2nd Place: “Bound” – Safae Bennani, 9th Grade, Bronx – Townsend Harris High School

3rd Place: “A Cry For Help”, Ruben Sandoval, 10th Grade, Queens – Island Academy


1st Place: “Stray” David Ceron, 18, Brooklyn –

2nd Place: “I Believe” Diorlenny Rodriguez, Richard R. Green High School of Teaching –

3rd Place: “Objectification of Women in the Music Industry” Zora Kosoff, 9th Grade, Brooklyn – Institute for Collaborate Education –

The NYCLU also honored teachers citywide for engaging their students in the Freedom of Expression Contest:

Melissa Diaz of Long Island City High School, Dale Hawrlyczak of LaGuardia High School, Ted Broutzas of Flushing High School, Garrett Yapkowitz of the School of Diplomacy, Aliza Sherman of Townsend Harris High School, John O’Malley of Townsend Harris High School, Sarah Marcy of the Institute for Collaborative Education, Charlene Levi of Townsend Harris High School, Zacarias Rivera of the Legacy School for Integrated Studies, Cheryl Araujo of Langston Hughes Elementary School, Alison Lucon of Langston Hughes Elementary School, Judee Rosenbaum of Brooklyn College Academy, Stefan Stokes of Langston Hughes Elementary School and Kate Salute of Explorations Academy High School.

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