The killing of George Floyd and the unrest that followed have created a long-delayed but urgently needed discussion on police brutality, inequities in the criminal justice system and racial injustice more broadly. The Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL) and Star Tribune Opinion believe in the power of young minds and voices, and if you are between the ages of 10 and 18, we want your best ideas about how our communities can continue the hard work of responding to these problems.
The MNUDL is a program of Augsburg University, which provides resources and programming to support competitive academic debate in Twin Cities high schools and middle schools. Its mission is to empower students through competitive academic debate to become engaged learners, critical thinkers and active global citizens who are effective advocates for themselves and their communities.
The task is to create an original written essay, video or audio file that describes one or two specific changes our community, state or nation should make to reduce racial inequities and injustices in the criminal justice system. Top submissions as determined by a group of judges from the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota will be published in the Star Tribune and on StarTribune.com and shared with leaders across our state and nation. Your words could pass new laws, transform society, spark revolutions, change minds and hearts, or help heal our communities.
The submission should be entirely your words and created by you, although others may teach you new skills, such as operating a camera, microphone or computer software. Submissions must come from young people between the ages of 10 and 18, using their age as of Dec. 31, 2020. You may also submit a group project with up to six friends (seven people total).Written essays must be no more than 700 words, typed, double-spaced and in 12-point font. Video and audio submissions should be no longer than two minutes and must be submitted in a file format that can be uploaded to YouTube. If you use any materials from other people (research, writing, video or audio clips, etc.) you must give credit to those people either in your submission or in an additional text document not more than 50 words long.Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. To enter, fill out the form below and submit your essay, video or audio file by Sept. 20.Please be passionate, be creative and feel free to use your own personal experiences as evidence for your arguments. There is no right or wrong answer. You have the chance to make change, and we look forward to hearing your voice.