Last fall, the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication held its second annual audio essay contest, with the theme "Voices Matter." It was held in conjunction with The Center for Political Communication’s National Agenda series “Midterm Matters,” which included the 2018 Delaware Debates Delaware Public Media helped produce last October.
Dozens of students participated by producing a wide range personal and emotional audio essays and Delaware Public Media was proud to help judge the entries.
Earlier this week, 10 finalists were honored at UD, and the first second and third place award winners were announced. And this week in our Enlighten Me segment, we present the 3 award winning essays.
The contest asked UD students campus-wide to submit audio essays about the First Amendment, considering the questions: Do you feel free to express your opinion? Have you been affected by hate speech? Have you ever experienced or witnessed censorship? What does the First Amendment mean to you? How have you made your voice matter?
The third place award winner was "The Word", from Jymere Stillis-Stanford, a junior majoring in mass communication and psychology. He remembers a high school experience when he used his voice to combat ignorance among his non-Black peers.
(Note – The word the title of this piece references is the N-word and Jymere uses it throughout the essay. Delaware Public Media altered the original audio to bleep it out for broadcast, but presents the unaltered version here.)
The second place award winner – "Shut Up and Listen"– comes from Eric Hastings, who is working on his Masters in Public Administration. He examines the lessons learned when people "shut up and listen," why it is important to do so, and why it is dangerous not to listen.
First prize went to "The Line" from UD sophomore Mia Carbone, who recalls a class discussion about the contentious Kavanaugh hearings and the trepidation of one young man – and considers how ultimately voices can indeed be drowned out.
These essays have been technically reproduced for broadcast by Delaware Public Media.
You can listen to all 10 contest finalists here.