HREI Announces Youth Essay Contest

When it comes to proactive education outreach on combating hate and prejudice, sometimes it can’t hurt to join forces. In that spirit, the Human Rights Education Institute is partnering with the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust to expand the Eva Lassman Memorial Writing Contest. Students are now able to enter two parallel tracks — Washington- and Idaho-based — of this seventh-edition of the annual contest.

This year’s theme is “Resistance to Genocide.” Students are asked to apply what they’ve learned about Holocaust resistance to a recent act of genocide or hatred here or abroad. Examples might include the genocide in Darfur, the 2011 attempted bombing of Spokane’s Martin Luther King Day Parade, or the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard.

This year’s expanded contest has two parallel tracks: Idaho students are eligible to receive awards and recognition from the Human Rights Education Institute, in addition to scholarship awards and recognition from the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust. Overall, the institute will award $700 to area students. (More contest details found here). HREI will host the Idaho first-, second-, and third-place winners at an upcoming Friends of HREI Social on Friday, April 5.

The Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust approached the institute with the hope of recruiting more contest entrants from North Idaho, and a partnership was born. The project fits naturally with other institute programming, including the recent sponsoring of “Through the Eyes of a Friend,” a dramatic reenactment focused on the story of Anne Frank, which HREI recently brought to Lakes and Woodland middle schools in Coeur d’Alene.

“We’re excited about partnering with the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust to get the word out about this contest,” HREI Executive Director Thomas Carter said. “Unfortunately, racism, prejudice, and misunderstanding are still with us, so we’re looking forward to seeing how our bright young people in the area can apply the lessons of one of the worst chapters in our human history.”

Students from North Idaho can also enter the Spokane-based contest, receiving recognition at an April 7 service at Temple Beth Shalom in Spokane, in addition to scholarship awards. The overall first-place winner, chosen from among Idaho and Washington entrants, will see their essay printed in full in The Spokesman-Review.

Essays are due by Saturday, March 2, at midnight. Students entering the Spokane contest can email their essays as a Microsoft Word attachment to, and Idaho students also (or only) entering the HREI contest can submit their essays to format, same deadline). Essays will be judged by a committee on the basis of accuracy, focus, use of resources and other criteria.

There is no cost to enter, and the contest is open to all middle- and high-school-aged students.

About rdmink

University of Idaho student
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