Thank you for your interest in the BYU Humanities Center’s Humanities & Social Justice Student Contest! We hope you’ll consider submitting an entry in one or more categories. The deadline for submission is 11:59 pm on December 31, 2020. We are hoping to think more deeply and open a conversation about the role the humanities play in social justice through the lens of our membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In each of the three categories (essay, creative arts, & a project proposal), the winning entry will receive a prize award amount of $750. After the completion of the contest, we ask the winners of the essay and creative arts categories to present their entry at a colloquium in February 2021. In the fall 2021 semester, we will invite the project proposal winner to come and share their results.

All contest entries should be submitted to byuhumanities.center@gmail.com.  Please clearly state in the subject line which prompt your entry is addressing. Any questions can be sent to that same email address. Good luck!

Essay Prompt:

social justice images

How do my beliefs and values as a disciple of Christ, and my skills and education as a student of the humanities shape my attitudes toward others? And what bearing do those attitudes have on my views of social justice?

Describe in detail one instance in which your humanities education has helped you promote social justice in a way that reflects a Gospel perspective. (1000 words or less)

Creative Arts Prompt:

Using the medium of poetry, visual art, or music, submit an artistic creation that reflects your views on how the humanities promote social justice from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Please submit your entry in the appropriate format (.pdf, .jpg, .png, .mp3, .mp4, etc.) and include a short paragraph describing how your project fits with the prompt.

Project Proposal:

Propose a project in which you plan to promote social justice in a way that reflects your perspective as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Submissions should include: Title, purpose, an outline of stages, and timeline including estimated dates for completion. The winning proposal will be awarded $750 to fund the project and a successfully completed project will be featured at an event in the fall 2021 semester.

Inspirational Resources

When we have conquered this—and we will—may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger, freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty. May we hope for schools where students are taught—not terrified they will be shot—and for the gift of personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice. Undergirding all of this is our relentless hope for greater devotion to the two greatest of all commandments: to love God by keeping His counsel and to love our neighbors by showing kindness and compassion, patience and forgiveness. These two divine directives are still—and forever will be—the only real hope we have for giving our children a better world than the one they now know. ” – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2020 General Conference

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” – Nelson Mandela

“If you want Peace, work for Justice” -Pope Paul VI

“We must respect this God-given dignity in every human being, even in our enemies. For the goal of all human relations—whether they are religious, social, political, or economic—ought to be cooperation and mutual respect. This goal can only be achieved through meaningful and constructive dialogue among the people of faith in every religious tradition. Nor should dialogue be limited to interfaith dialogue; it should touch on human rights and political and economic issues, as well as issues of social justice and the right of all people everywhere to live in security, prosperity, and peace. We must not try to reduce our social, racial, and religious diversity to global uniformity or make it the cause of conflict and strife; rather, we must celebrate it as a manifestation of Divine wisdom and mercy… Indeed, we are living in a difficult time, and we have to realize that the best way to begin working for peace is to build it up from within. It depends on us. The solution to the ignorance, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness that lead to hatred is within ourselves, within our communities. It is our burden and our challenge to find solutions to these global problems. The solutions, as Shakespeare would have said, lie in ourselves, not in the stars under which we were born (see Julius Caesar, act 1, scene 2, lines 140–41)”- Alwi Shihab

“First, never forget that you are advocating for individual children of God. It is easy to become so caught up in the larger cause that we forget the individuals for whom we are advocating.” – Gayla Sorenson

“What does “fairness for all” mean? At bottom, it means that every person—including people of faith and their religious communities—should have enough space to live according to their core beliefs so long as they don’t harm the fundamental rights of others. It means pluralism. It means a fair opportunity for each person to participate in society, professions, the job market, and commerce. It means looking for less-burdensome alternatives when accomplishing important objectives. It means balancing competing interests so that as many people as possible can live as equal citizens according to their deepest values and needs.” – Lance Wickman

Coit Tower San Francisco