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Voices for Change Contest

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“Voices of Yesterday—Leaders of Tomorrow”

Hosted by WELFund and the Student Government Association

Emcee: Rob King, ESPN

Guest Speaker: Civil Rights Leader Ruby Sales
See Ruby Sales video from Library of Congress

Five Essay Finalists (read essays)

Judges: Amy Barzach, Susan Fitzgerald, Dr. Benjamin FosterRob KingDr. Susan Smith

WELFund and SGA invite students on campus to research a remembered voice of the civil rights movement, write an essay describing what that person did, and why/how it inspires them (students) to make positive change in this world. Sample list of potential leaders below. Students can also select leaders from off this list but are encouraged to select someone who hasn't received great public recognition but has made a large impact.

Essays are due by email to Alex Coury (, Program Manager of WELFund, no later than 4:30 PM on Wednesday, September 10th. Five finalists will be invited to present to a panel of judges on Thursday, September 18, from 2–4 p.m. in Regents Commons.

Date: Thursday, Sept. 18

Time: 2–4 p.m.

Location: Regents Commons, Shaw Center

Voices Remembered

Voices of the pastWomen's Club Movement

  • Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin
  • Mary Church Terrell
  • Madame CJ Walker
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Ida B. Wells

Politics and Literature

  • Stokely Carmichael
  • Booker T Washington
  • W.E.B Dubois
  • Marcus Garvey
  • Zora Neale Hurston
  • Langston Hughes
  • Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)
  • Phyllis Wheatley
  • Claudette Colvin
  • James Weldon Johnson
  • Gwendolyn Brooks


  • Duke Ellington
  • William Grant Still


  • Josh Gibson
  • Lucien Alexis
  • Toni Stone