RICHMOND, VA – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced Shea Dowling, an eighth grade student at Albert Hill Middle School in Richmond, and Tobi Ojo, a junior at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, as the winners of his second annual Black History Month Essay Contest.
This year, McEachin challenged middle and high school students in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District to write about a current figure who inspires them and is working towards a more equitable future for all. The students’ essays were considered and judged by Dr. Pamela Reed, Associate Professor of English and Africana Literature at Virginia State University and Dr. Douglas Kimemia, Assistant Political Science Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University
“Following a year of activism, calls for social justice and difficult conversations about race relations, I wanted our students to reflect on not just Black history, but to take a forward-looking perspective toward the future of equal justice Black leaders are fighting for in communities across the nation,” said McEachin. “I want to acknowledge the contributions of our distinguished judges and encourage all of the students who participated in this project to keep writing. Each of the essays submitted were deeply moving and I hope everyone will take this opportunity to read our young scholars’ thoughts.”
“Thank you to Congressman McEachin for the opportunity to participate in this contest and a chance to reflect on current events,” said Ojo. “With everything going on, I feel like you don’t really hear about female historical figures in black history. So, I started researching about the events that happened last year and kept seeing Stacy Abrams’ name pop up. I didn’t know much about her at first, but once I started researching more about what she has done, I realized that she is a very influential figure right now and has done a lot of grassroots advocacy to help the communities in her own state. I chose to write about her because it is important that young girls can look up to a strong female leader in the media.”
“Thank you to Congressman McEachin for hosting this contest and the opportunity to get my voice out there,” said Dowling. “Black history is history, it should not be a separate thing. It is incorporated into our history and should be taught that way. I appreciate what Obama did and how he opened up the gates for people like Kamala Harris and Rep. Jamaal Bowman to do big things.”
Full text of the winning essays can be found here.
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