Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest

photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is pleased to hold an annual statewide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest.  This contest is intended to encourage students to reflect upon Dr. King’s life, philosophy, and impact on the Civil Rights movement and present day America. It is meant to challenge students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of Dr. King in their own way.

All Ohio students in grades 6-12 are invited to enter this contest and may submit one (1) entry per student.  Students may choose which type of entry they wish to submit.  All contest entries must be accompanied by a clearly written official entry form, completed in its entirety. (Submissions are not considered without a completed entry form).


2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Essay, and Multimedia Contest

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission submission period is open for our 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Essay, and Multimedia Contest! 

This year's theme is "standing for what matters." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leading voice against the injustices that affected minorities throughout the United States. For standing up against racism and bigotry, Dr. King had to face great adversity. He was arrested, verbally abused, and a target of many due to his civil rights advocacy. Despite this trouble, Dr. King never strayed from his mission and he continued to speak out against injustice. Dr. King’s great civil rights achievements would not have been possible if he had been intimidated by the possible dangers of advocating the truth. His actions show us that doing what is right may not be the easiest choice, but if justice is to prevail, difficult choices must be taken.

On March 8, 1965, the day after “Bloody Sunday,” on which civil rights protestors were attacked and beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Dr. King said:

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”

His words remind us that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Contest Entries: Dr. King was a leader because he spoke out when others were resigned to silence. Think about times in your life where you spoke out against an injustice. What impact did it leave on you and your community? Each participant in the art contest is invited to participate by creating work that creatively responds to the following question:

When have you had or will you have the courage to speak out for something that truly matters?

For 2020 Contest Rules and the Official Entry Form, Click Here.

To fill out the form digitally, save a copy to your computer first, then fill out the form.

The 2020 MLK Contest Deadline is December 20, 2019

All entries are required to be emailed or received by mail no later than December 20, 2019 at 5:00 PM. Please factor in holiday shipping times when choosing shipping options.


Questions? Call us at (888) 278-7101

Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award

The 2020 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award

The 2020 Excellence in Teaching Diversity nominations are now closed! 

The Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award is given to an Ohio grade 6-12 teacher who demonstrates exemplary dedication to diversity and teaching the lessons of civil rights in the classroom. Any individual may nominate a teacher.

Award Description:

Each recipient of these awards will receive an honorary certificate, a small gift, and recognition at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest awards ceremony.


•  The nominee must be a current or former grade 6-12 teacher at an Ohio school.

Selection Criteria:

Award selection criteria include, but are not limited to:

•  The nominee’s consistent practice of celebrating diversity with students, colleagues, and community members;
•  The nominee’s ability to incorporate the lessons and tenants of the civil rights movement and Ohio’s civil rights laws into the classroom;
•  The nominee’s positive impact on students, particularly in the promotion of academic excellence and community engagement;
•  The nominee's leadership and communication skills;
•  The nominee’s respect and recognition by his/her peers as one who goes above and beyond the normal expectations of a teacher.

Selection Process: 

Nominations will be reviewed by the staff and Commissioners of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The Commissioners will select the winner based on the above criteria. Awards will be announced in January 2020.

Nomination Process: 

Nominators can respond directly to the questions on the following pages or attach a nomination in letter form. Please limit nomination letters to two typed pages. Nomination forms become the property of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and may be shared with the public and the nominee.

Although nomination questions are geared toward older children and adults, we do encourage input from young nominators as well – feel free to attach young student nominations to the completed form.

2020 Deadline: 

Nominations were required to be emailed by 5:00pm on November 1, 2019, or mailed to the following address. Mailed nominations must be postmarked by October 30, 2019.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Attn: PACE - Excellence in Teaching Diversity

30 E. Broad St., 5th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215



For more on the Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award, including previous winners, click here.