New York high school students have submitted original book entries about tolerance and diversity for the B’nai B’rith International Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge. The winning entries will be announced at a gala event Thursday, May 31 at the New York Stock Exchange. At the event, B’nai B’rith will also present an award to Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, for her commitment to initiatives confronting racism and bigotry.
This education and awareness contest—now in its sixth year—challenges teens to write and illustrate children’s books that explain diversity and tolerance to elementary school-aged children. The contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America’s young people and their families in an effort to destroy prejudices and strengthen the future of our youth.
The first place winner will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and will have his or her winning submission professionally published and donated to libraries and elementary schools in New York City. The teacher who oversaw the creation of the first place submission will receive a $500 stipend to use for classroom or organizational materials, and the school will win a $500 grant. The second place winner receives a $2,000 scholarship, and the third place winner earns a $1,000 scholarship.
A panel of judges from B’nai B’rith International, as well as the New York worlds of education, the arts and government reviewed the submissions and selected the winners. The New York Stock Exchange Foundation and the USA Network’s Characters Unite campaign, two organizations that are dedicated to promoting diversity, tolerance and acceptance, generously provided the philanthropic support necessary for B’nai B’rith to again offer the program in New York City.
B’nai B’rith honored Hammer because of a shared dedication to diversity, tolerance and acceptance. Hammer oversees leading cable brands USA, Syfy, E! Entertainment, G4, Chiller, Cloo and Universal HD, as well as production entities Universal Cable Productions and E! Studios. An industry leader in network programming and branding, Hammer originally joined the company in 1989. Among her accomplishments at USA, she created the network’s Emmy-winning “Erase the Hate” public affairs initiative, which confronted the issues of racism and bigotry. In 2009, Hammer drew on the legacy of “Erase the Hate” to create “Characters Unite,” a pro-social program dedicated to combating intolerance and promoting acceptance.
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