Freethought Today · September 2016

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

College Essay Contest for Students of Color winners

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce the 10 winners of the 2016 Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay Contest for Students of Color.

Essayists were asked to write a personal persuasive essay about why they are a nonbeliever and their experiences as young nonbelievers of color.

Winners are listed below and include the award amount and the college or university they are attending. FFRF has paid out a total of $8,750 in award money for this contest.

First place
Nadia Duncan, SUNY Purchase College ($3,000)

Second place
Anuj Krishnamurthy, Brown University ($2,000)

Third place
Bahram Sherwani, San Francisco State University ($1,000)

Fourth place
Jonathan Azpeitia, Pomona College ($750)

Fifth place (tie)
Kamerin Winston, Spelman College ($500)

Fifth place (tie)
Tyneshia Griffin, Virginia Tech University ($500)

Sixth place
Benjamin Duru, California University–Long Beach ($400)

Honorable mentions ($200 each)
Ana Almeida-Rojo, Oglethorpe University
Taylor Johnson, SUNY at Purchase
Alexandra Lewis, East Carolina University

FFRF has offered essay competitions to college students since 1979.

"It's a myth that most African-Americans, Latinos or Hispanic-Americans are uniformly religious," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "FFRF wants to showcase diversity and reward minorities in the freethought movement who are especially courageous in 'coming out of the closet.' "

The college contest is named for the late Michael Hakeem, a sociology professor who was an FFRF officer and active atheist known by generations of University of Wisconsin-Madison students for fine-tuning their reasoning abilities.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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