About the Competition

Straker Bar Association in collaboration with Wolverine Bar Association and The Association of Black Judges of Michigan are preparing to engage high school students through written and oral advocacy on academic and/or current events to discuss critical issues that affect our country, while helping them earn money for college , and gain exposure to mentoring and career opportunities. 

Each year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition Committee, on behalf of the three sponsoring Associations, invite 11th and 12th grade students from select high schools in the Detroit Metro Area to participate in this exciting and worthwhile Competition. The purpose of the MLK Advocacy Competition is to promote oral advocacy among high school students and encourage students to develop and improve their analytical and writing skills.

To participate in the MLK Advocacy Competition, students must submit an essay analyzing an issue using the principles espoused by Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr. Typically, the essay topic relates directly to academic and/or societal realities that some students encounter each day.

This year’s essay topic is:

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive today, would he argue President Trump’s Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” is a necessary restriction on the exercise of religious freedom in order to protect our country against acts of terrorism that should be followed? 

If not would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. argue that President Trump’s Executive Order is a form of discrimination against religious freedoms and descent that should be overturned?

Each participating student must submit an essay of not more than 1000 words on the abovestated topic. Members of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, and the Wolverine Bar Association will review the essays to select the finalists.

Typically, five finalists are selected.  All finalists must compete in the oral advocacy portion of the Competition, scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017, Wayne State University Law School, Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at Wayne Law, 471 W. Palmer St., Detroit, MI 48202.   All finalists will be assigned a lawyer mentor to assist them in preparing their oral presentation (three to five minutes) to a panel of judges from Michigan state and/or federal courts, who will rank the finalists based on the content of their presentations and oratorical skills.

Every student who submits an essay will receive a Certificate of Recognition.  In addition to a Certificate of Distinction, all finalists will receive a monetary award intended to assist them in achieving their educational goals.  In past competitions, cash prize awards ranged from $5,000 (first place) to $250.  The five finalists who enter the oral competition will also receive a recognition plaque. The first place finalist’s name will be memorialized on a perpetual plaque.

The essay requirements are included on the attached submission rules and guidelines.  Strict adherence to the stated requirements is necessary.  Failure to adhere to the guidelines may result in the disqualification of the submission.

We encourage  teachers to consider using this Competition as a starting point for a class project. In the past, students attending various schools in Oakland and Wayne counties have successfully participated in the Competition.  We invite all students who submit entries, their families, sponsors, members of the participating Associations, the press, and others to attend the advocacy portion of the Competition.

We believe that your students will find involvement in this Competition most rewarding, and we look forward to their participation.  Should you have any questions regarding the Competition, please do not hesitate to contact Chairperson, Michael K. Jackson, II at (248) 866-5942 or via email at jacksonmi@detroitmi.gov.

Structure of the Competition

The Competition is held in two stages:

Essay Competition and Oral Advocacy Competition.  

Essay Competition: Attorneys or judges will be chosen to judge the student’s essay in advance of the Oral Advocacy Competition. Registration and Essay submission deadline is Thursday, March 30, 2017 (ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN 5P.M.) See Essay Question, Requirements and Research Guide in the document below.
2017 MLK Essay Invitation with Research Guide

Oral Advocacy Competition: Finalist advance to the Oral Advocacy Round.  This stage of the Competition will be held on May 20, 2017.

Rules & Guidelines

ESSAY CONTENT:
  • ESSAYS MUST CONSIST OF ORIGINAL WORK
  • STUDENTS MUST INCORPORATE THE TOPIC AND ANSWER THE ESSAY QUESTION. THE QUESTION SHOULD NOT BE RECITED VERBATIM.
  • STUDENTS MUST SPECIFY THE SOLUTION(S) AND PROGRAM(S) THAT THEY BELIEVE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING WOULD HAVE MADE, AND FULLY EXPLAIN WHY THE PROPOSED SOLUTION(S) AND PROGRAM(S) SHOULD BE ADOPTED
  • ESSAYS MUST NOT EXCEED 1000 WORDS


ESSAY FORMAT:
  • STUDENTS MUST SUBMIT DOUBLE SPACED ESSAYS, TYPED, 12-POINT ARIAL FONT
  • MARGINS MUST BE 1-INCH AND TEXT MUST BE FULLY JUSTIFIED
  • STUDENTS MUST SUBMIT ONE ORIGINAL AND ONE PHOTOCOPY (IF SUBMITTED BY MAIL)
  • STUDENTS MUST PLACE A COVER SHEET ON TOP OF THE ORIGINAL WITH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: (1) NAME, (2) ADDRESS, (3) TELEPHONE NUMBER, (4) E-MAIL ADDRESS, (5) HIGH SCHOOL, (6) GRADE, (7) SCHOOL CONTACT PERSON’S NAME, TITLE, AND CONTACT INFORMATION (TEACHER, ADMINISTRATOR OR STAFF), AND (8) GRADE POINT AVERAGE
  • STUDENTS MUST RETAIN ONE COPY OF THE ESSAY BECAUSE THE ORIGINAL AND PHOTOCOPY SUBMITTED WILL NOT BE RETURNED

ORAL COMPETITION:

  • FOR THE ORAL COMPETITION, THE FIVE FINALISTS MUST PRESENT THEIR ESSAY IN THE TIMEFRAME OF AT LEAST THREE MINUTES AND NO MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES.
DEADLINE DATE:
ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN 5:00 P.M. ON TUESDAY, March 30, 2017

ENTRIES MAY BE SUBMITTED USING ONE OF THE FOLLOWING METHODS:

Mail:
Michael K. Jackson, II, Esq.
City of Detroit Corporation Counsel 2 Woodward Ave, Suite 500 Detroit, Michigan 48226

Fax:
(313) 224-5505

Email: jacksonmi@detroitmi.gov

How to Volunteer

Are you or your group interested in volunteering at a Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition event this year? If so, simply fill out the registration form and our volunteer coordinator will get in contact with you.

Every year, dozens of people volunteer their time and make it possible for all of us to honor the legacy of Dr. King. We couldn’t have done it in the past without them and we your help to make this year a success.

For questions about volunteering, please contact Michael K. Jackson, II, Esq., at (248) 866-5942 or jacksonmi@detroitmi.gov.

19785 W. 12 Mile Rd · # 176 · Southfield, MI 48076
Copyright © 2015 D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, All rights reserved.


The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association is an active affiliate of the National Bar Association

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software