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Thursday, June 14, 2007 02:32 pm

The many colors of Springfield

Local students promote racial unity and understanding through words and art

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FIRST-PLACE ILLUSTRATION BY PAIGE GRAHAM/SEVENTH GRADE/PLEASANT PLAINS MIDDLE SCHOOL
Untitled Document The world was made for “you and me,” says Missy DeMarco, who recently completed the fifth grade at St. Agnes School. “It doesn’t matter what race you are,” says Larissa Mulch, who just finished the fourth grade at Harvard Park. So — what the heck? — why not show “kindness to everyone,” advises Lauren Walters, a third-grade grad at Rochester Elementary. DeMarco, Mulch, and Walters were among the top winners in the youngest age category of the annual “Vision of Race Unity” poetry and art contest. The competition, which drew nearly 100 entries this year, is part of an annual rally at the Capitol. This year’s event, held June 3, was co-sponsored by Illinois Times, Regions Bank, Frontiers International Club of Springfield, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the Greater Springfield Baha’i community. Two schools — St. Agnes and Harvard Park — received monetary prizes to recognize their overwhelming participation in the contest. The top art, poetry, and essay entries are published here. To see the rest of the winning entries, go to www.springfieldbahai.org.
THE WORLD MADE FOR YOU AND ME By Missy DeMarco Fifth grade, St. Agnes School (first place, grades 3-5 category)
The world may be round or flat or square. People may have blue eyes or very dark hair. If people don’t care about the color of your hair, Then why do they care about your skin? If people make fun of your race or your face Then you should just turn your chin. God loves everyone who gives the world light. Whether you’re from Africa or America, don’t fight. The world was made for you and me so let’s all live in unity.
BE KIND TO EVERYONE By Larissa Mulch Fourth grade, Harvard Park (Second place, grades 3-5 category)
My class is all different, Nobody is quite the same. Some kids are tall like Adam, Or short like Alexandria. Kids are black like Ebony. Others are white like David. And some kids are like Damian, Not quite white or black, but just in the middle.
Everyone might be different But what’s a world without variety? My class is different but we all can be friends Because it doesn’t matter what race you are. You should be kind to everyone.
UNITY
By Lauren Walters Third grade, Rochester Elementary (Third place, grades 3-5 category)
Unite the people, Nationwide to appreciate, Individuals for being who they are. To judge who they are by their hearts, not their skin. You should show kindness to everyone!
AMERICA, THE “SALAD BOWL”
OF THE WORLD
By Kevin Jacob Sixth grade, St. Agnes School (First place, grades 6-8 category)
I am an American. I am also a Roman Catholic Syrian Christian from the state of Kerala, from southern India. I was born in India but grew up in Great Britain and later migrated to USA. I am part of the American salad. I learned to play football in England. David Beckam was my hero there. I loved to eat fish and chips in the U.K. I moved to America in 2003 and started playing basketball and baseball for the first time. I was pleased when I was honored as the most valuable player in baseball two years after my arrival. I am currently in the school basketball team. Michael Jordan is my hero now. Football became soccer here, but I continued to play it here. My British accent is still there, though I speak in American accent too. I speak Malayalam at home. Sometimes I speak English with an Indian accent at home. My mother cooks spicy Indian dishes for me. I like hamburger too. I go for English mass at St. Agnes. Rarely do I go for a Malayalam mass in Chicago. I speak to my grandmother in India in Malayalam mixed with Americanized English. I represent a part of the American salad. America provides me with the elements to grow. I return my talents and productivity back to America. I love America. It accepts me the way I am. America is truly a salad bowl, where each person with his distinct ethnicity and talent adds spice to the great American dream.
NATION OF COLORS By Katelyn Charlton Sixth grade, St. Agnes (Second place, grades 6-8 category)
There are many people in the world, among many different places. Many colors are swirled between the faces of white and black, from all different races.
Many of us may not be aware that the world is unjust and unfair, and does not bring peace —
especially to blacks. This unfairness puts a crease in many peoples’ lives, having impacts on many people. But now our country thrives, because it now treats everyone as it must —
fair and just, realizing what it has done so long ago, how it has treated these people so.
Blacks were wrongly mistreated, for skin color for their hair, blacks teased like this everywhere.
Now we finally understand our nation must be one in order for our liberty to be won. In the name of God. Freedom, Liberty, and all, may we all fall white and black, into the gift of freedom —
of friendship.

UNITY By Alex Lang Sixth grade, Williamsville Junior High (Third place, grades 6-8 category)
In this world, there is one thing I cannot see. It is called unity. People are prejudiced because of their past, they don’t take time to look at the facts. No matter color, religion, or race, people make fun of them, laughing in their face. I want to stop the prejudice in this world, and bring what we need the most. Unity.
WHAT THE MARTYRS TELL US By Curtis V. Penfold Tenth grade, Divernon High School (First place, grades 9-12 category)
I heard of a man who had a dream. I heard he got shot. Just like that other guy who said peace is as old as the hills.
Martyrs. They die because of what they said and what they did, but we die each day by what we don’t say and do.
Every man who doesn’t speak is the only man who really dies . . . for injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
Speak up. Let your light so shine.
Remember the man who was crucified; he said, as I have loved you, love one another.
To die is nothing when we love, when we speak, when we dream.
Let us stand together, let us live together and, if it so be, let us die together.
If we die, we die with countless others who fought for a better world, and if we live, we live knowing that
someday, I don’t know when, but someday, that dream, that peace, that love of which the Martyrs tell us can be ours.
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