Essay contest flyer
Credit: Cleveland State University
With their new essay contest, CSU’s Black Studies Program hopes that students will acknowledge the struggles and voting experiences of communities of color.

CSU’s Black Studies Program holds essay contest on voting experiences

Cleveland State University’s Black Studies Program is holding a contest titled “Good Trouble: The Voting Experiences of Communities of Color."

Based on John Lewis’s view of voting as “good trouble," the Black Studies Program is inviting all students to submit essays and other creative works that honor the individuals in their lives who risked good trouble to cast their ballots. 

Adrienne Gosselin, Ph.D., an associate professor of English at CSU, is responsible for overseeing this contest. 

“The idea for this contest was sparked by my own mother’s experience with registering to vote in the 1940s,” Gosselin said. “She lived in Virginia, and there she was blindfolded with a sanitary napkin, driven to a barren cornfield, and had to recite the Bill of Rights and pay for it.”

The contest encourages students to reach out and interview their parents, grandparents and other elders in their families who risked facing threats, intimidation or suppression for the right to vote.

With this essay contest, the Black Studies Program is hoping that students acknowledge the struggles that communities of color have gone through to cast their ballots and the lessons that have risen from those struggles.

“I’ve always been interested in voting and voter suppression,” Gosselin said. “And maybe it’s because I’m from the south and I know what people have gone through.” 

The deadline for all essay and creative works submissions is Friday, Nov. 13. 

The contest will be awarding a grand prize of $300, along with a second prize of $200. 

You can find more information here about the contest rules and submission details.