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Cherokee High Student Takes Second Place In State Bar's Black History Month Essay Contest

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Cherokee High School student Kirstin Evans was awarded second place on Feb. 20 for her essay on banning the use of the “n” word in the 2007 Black History Month Contest for New Jersey High School Students sponsored by the Minorities in the Profession Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Contest officials received over 200 essays in this contest that involved New Jersey high school students and gave them a forum on a current, controversial topic. The awards were presented at a reception at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.

“This is the most entries that we have received for our annual Black History Month essay contest,” said Minorities in the Profession Section Chair Tracy M. Thompson. “The entries were so good, that we wanted to give a fourth and fifth place, and so awarded those students with an Honorable Mention.”

In her essay, as a hypothetical candidate for Student Government Association president at Richard Pryor High School in Freedomville, New Jersey, sophomore Evans told her fellow students that she supports the ban on the “n” word, because “Words can have an everlasting, negative effect, not only on an individual, but in this case on an entire group of generations past, present and future.”

In the hypothetical situation described in contest rules, Richard Pryor High School recently implemented a new policy banning the use of the “n” word. Some student organizations support the policy while others oppose it. In their essay, students were to place themselves in the hypothetical, and write an essay as a candidate for the Student Government Association (SGA) that made the ban a key platform for SGA president.

In her argument in support of the ban, Evans declared use of the “n” word a black-on-black crime and armed robbery. “Armed with the history of slavery, oppression and segregation, we steal from ourselves priceless gifts that can never be replaced. Using the ‘n’ word is like selling an illegal drug, which causes its users to be forever addicted to ignorance and self-hate.”

Evans encouraged her fellow students to use their voices to speak words of hope, speak words of dignity and speak words of power.

For second place, Evans received a $100 gift certificate for a performance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and a plaque.

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