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Student Voices Award apply by Jan 18

About the Award

This annual Celebration is meant to offer the Tufts community a time to participate in the ongoing university commitment to racial justice by honoring what we learn from the past, listening deeply to current voices of change, imagining together for Tufts, and celebrating a future of Beloved Community. Each year, we invite student voices - through essays, poems, spoken word, songs, art, or performances - to be a part of our community celebration.

Interested undergraduates and graduate students are invited to submit creative responses for this year's Student Voices Award as part of the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration coordinated by the Africana Center, Tisch College of Civic Life, and the University Chaplaincy. For the 2024 Celebration, we ask submitters to connect  to the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," authored by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963, and celebrate where the ethic expressed in his letter is alive on our Tufts campuses today for them. The quote we ask submissions to focus on is below: 

"Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

For the 2024 Award, we are asking submitters to respond to the questions: What does it mean to you to be “caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny”? What does that mean to you in this time of your life? Where does it show up for you at Tufts? What value does it have for our life together?  

Individual and group submissions are welcome. Submissions could uplift a place, relationship, program, or gathering on our campuses that models mutuality and a recognition of the "single garment of destiny." 

Details are below:

  • Submissions must be original work, but can have been created for another class, activity, or contest
  • Submissions can be considered as essays, poems, songs, art, and performances; we will accept content in pdf, MP4, MOV, jpeg, and png
  • Please see relevant deadlines below

A small committee including members of the planning team for the Celebration will choose up to three winners. The winners will be chosen based on organization, clarity, creativity, originality, and relationship to the 2024 guiding text. There will be a cash prize for each winner, and one of the winners will be invited to present at the Celebration on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. The submissions will be displayed on the Africana Center and the University Chaplaincy website.


Submission Process Step Due Date
Applications Open Monday, November 6, 2023
Applications Close Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.
Winner(s) will be contacted Wednesday, January 24,  2024
Winner(s) will present at the Celebration Wednesday, January 31, 2024

01/30/2023 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - 2023 Winners of the MLK Student Voices Award with 2023 speaker Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles (third from the left)