Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center seeks youth advocates for writing contests, grant opportunity | News | |


Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center seeks youth advocates for writing contests, grant opportunity

Applications due April 24 for Youth Activist Grant, Art and Writing Challenge

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In its continued efforts to promote the development of aspiring young civic leaders and advocates, the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center is providing multiple opportunities for future leaders to have their work showcased and even financially supported this spring.

Open now for middle and high schoolers throughout Contra Costa County, the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center is seeking young people to submit work to the group’s 22nd annual Dennis Thomas Art and Writing Challenge, and applicants interested in its second annual Youth Activists Grant.

“In the past year, the Peace Center has been proud to see momentum build in the climate justice movement, led by student activists. They have mobilized huge numbers of people to stand up for our planet and demand change from world leaders and policymakers,” Peace Center volunteers wrote on their website.

“These students, among many other inspiring activists and grassroots organizations, advocate that climate justice must be addressed using an intersectional approach, connecting the health of our planet with various forms of systemic marginalization that disproportionately affect low-income folks of color, immigrants and indigenous communities,” they added.

For the Dennis Thomas Art and Writing Challenge, students are invited to produce visual artwork, essays, and creative writing based off of the theme “Our Connected Planet”, with scholarships and prizes awarded to final winners.

While the theme is intentionally broad to allow students the freedom to convey their vision, for this year’s writing challenge judges took inspiration from various activists and asked contestants to consider the following questions:

* How has your connection to our planet played a significant role in your life?

* How have you been impacted by threats to our climate/planet How do you see others being affected?

* Do you see climate justice as connected to other forms of social justice? If so, how?

* In what ways is our planet impacted or threatened by things like nuclear energy, the military-industrial complex, capitalism, and notions of “progress”?

* What would your vision of a just and healthy world look like?

Students are asked to submit entries in either the Visual Art (any medium including sculpture, photography and video), Creative Writing (poem, story or play) or Essay categories no later than 5 p.m. on April 24.

Visual artwork be submitted as original pieces and either mailed or delivered to the Peace Center (1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette California 94549), office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop-offs and pick-ups -- if arranged in advance -- can be coordinated with via email at or phone 933 7850.

Writing submissions must be sent as a Microsoft Word or Google document via email with subject line: "ART AND WRITING 2020" to

All submissions must also include an Entry Cover Sheet available online

For future movers and shakers, the Peace Center is also looking for students to apply for its second annual Youth Activist Grant Award.

Launched in 2019 as a way to recognize and honor middle and high school students in the local community organizing around ideals of peace and justice, the grant encourages residents to nominate a youth organization, individual or group of young people who have demonstrated commitment to engaging in the struggle for human rights, world peace, social justice or youth empowerment.

“We have been inspired by the number of the dedicated and brave students we see taking change into their own hands and speaking truth to power. Youth are showing us the way,” Center officials said. “We want students to know that they can be powerful instruments of change and that the actions they take can have a huge impact in creating a more just and equitable world for all.”

Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on May 16, where they will receive a special award and $100 grant.

Nomination forms are due April 24 and should be emailed to -- subject line “Youth Activist Grant 2020” -- or mailed/delivered to the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, 1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette, 94549.

Learn more by calling the Peace Center at 933-7850.

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