2024 Essay and Poetry Description

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara has presented community events to
Santa Barbara and surrounding areas, that are educational and inspirational. The committee
plans the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebration, always held on the third Monday in
January. All are also invited take part in the MLK Jr. Day of Service, the Saturday before the
national holiday.
On MLK Day, January 15, 2024, we present a morning program at De La Guerra Plaza,
followed by a Unity March to the historic Arlington Theater, where a program is held, that
regularly includes singers, dancers, youth performances and a keynote, speaker.
As part of the annual MLK Commemoration events, for the past 16 years, we have
sponsored an Essay and Poetry Awards Program (EPAP) based on the theme for the year.
Local county-wide schools are invited to participate. Essays or Poems for ages 6 – 12, and
Essays or Poems for ages 13 – 18. Entries are submitted through the schools or directly on
the MLKSB website, http://www.mlksb.org.
This year’s theme is, “The time is always right to do the right thing”. Students should
write about doing the right thing as related to sustainability and environmental justice, since
this is also the focus of MLKSB this year. Dr. King believed that true peace requires the
presence of justice among all people and doing the right thing for the planet.
Entries will be read by a team of volunteer educators, writers and poets, who will select 1st,
2nd, 3rd and honorable mention for each of the four categories. Cash prizes are awarded to
the three top placing entries in each category.
The Essay and Poetry awardees are given various opportunities to read their work to the
public at different local events, including on radio stations and at other public gatherings.
We offer help with their presentations, that include voice projection and modulation,
clothing attire, and stage presence, including use of the microphone. Student presentations
will take place in January and February.
The top placing entries, including honorable mention are memorialized in a booklet that is
distributed at MLKSB events throughout the year, and will also be on the MLKSB website.
Every student who submits an entry will receive a Certificate of Appreciation. Secondary
students may also receive “community service recognition” which can be included on their
college application.
eob; 7.14.23