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Students, make your case in law day essay contest

The Mecklenburg County Bar Association will hold its annual Law Day Luncheon on May 2 at the Hilton Charlotte Center City. The speaker will be U.S. Congressman Mel Watt, who served as the first African American president of the Mecklenburg County Bar in 1988-89 before being elected to the U.S. House in 1992. Watt, a longtime member of the House Financial Services Committee, reportedly is being considered by President Obama to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The law day theme this year, “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All,” commemorates the 150th anniversary this year of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Observer’s editorial board is once again joining with the Mecklenburg Bar to highlight the importance of our system of laws by co-sponsoring a Law Day essay contest for high school students in the paper’s circulation area. Prizes of $300 and $100 will be given for the top two essays. Deadline for entries is Tuesday, April 23.

Students should explore the movement for civil and human rights in America and the impact it has had in promoting the ideal of equality under the law. That ideal is reflected in country’s founding documents including the Declaration of Independence. It also reflected in the Emancipation Proclamation, in which President Abraham Lincoln at the height of the nation’s most deadly war, declared slaves in slave states free. In 1963, civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would use what he called the “promissory note” of equality and freedom enshrined in the founding documents to prod the country to live up to its ideals. Students’ essays should explore the quest for equal rights in the U.S. that goes on today.

To enter the contest, students should send typewritten essays of up to 700 words about examining the issue to:

Essay Contest

Fannie Flono

Associate Editor

The Charlotte Observer

P.O. Box 30308

Charlotte, NC 28230-0308

Essays may also be e-mailed to fflono@charlotteobserver.com.

Essays must include the writer’s name, age, address, phone number, the school the student attends and the names of his or her parents or guardians. No essays will be accepted after April 23. Only high school students are eligible. Teachers may make this a class project, but any essay submitted must be the work of one writer.

The winning essays will be announced at the Law Day luncheon. The Bar association will also announce the recipient of its annual Liberty Bell Award, which is given to a non-lawyer for community service. For more information, contact Sara Taylor Moore at smoore@meckbar.org or 704-375-8624 ext.124.

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