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Enlighten Me: "Voices of the Divide" heard at Univ. of Delaware

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University of Delaware
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Last fall’s University of Delaware Center for Political Communication’s National Agenda series was called "As We Stand, Divided," focusing on the various divisions the country faces these days – be they gender, geographic, religious, cultural, or political.  But in addition to hearing from various speakers about these divides and their impact, the Center for Political Communication also wanted to hear from students.

That led to the Voices of the Divide audio essay contest – where students who feel marginalized had a chance to tell their stories about the divisions and divides they’ve experienced in short 2-4 minute essays.

50 UD students participated – offering personal and emotional stories on topics ranging from racism, immigration and religion to politics, sexual harassment and homophobia.

Earlier this week, 10 finalists were honored at UD – and the first second and third place award winners were announced.

Delaware Public Media was proud to partner on this contest, running a workshop to help students craft their essays and helping judge the entries.

And in this week’s Enlighten Me, we’re proud to give you a chance to hear the top 3 essays,  starting with the third place award winner Fitting In,  from Monique Harmon, a junior who shares her perspective of belonging to a religion that isn't considered to be part of mainstream American society.

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UD junior Monique Harmon's "Voices of the Divide" audio essay "Fitting In."

Next up, the second place award winner - Afraid – from UD junior Madeline Merritts, which depicts the anxiety and fear that women and girls experience because of unwanted attention and sexualization.

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UD junior Madeline Merritts' "Voices of the Divide" audio essay "Afraid."

And the first place essay, After Dinner, from Ph.D. student Oscar de Paz, who describes an encounter while cleaning up after dinner with his family.

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UD Ph.D. student Oscar de Paz's "Voices of the Divide" audio essay "After Dinner."

These essays have been technically reproduced for broadcast by Delaware Public Media.

You can listen to all 10 contest finalists here.