Saige Lind, a high school sophomore who attends Seattle Mennonite Church, has earned grand prize in the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. Washington Office annual essay contest for her essay on mass incarceration.
A student at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Lind won $1,000 for her winning essay in the 2018 contest.
Lind’s essay, titled “Mass incarceration: Prison of prejudice,” highlights the ways that people of color have been targeted by the war on drugs. Lind argues, “The war on drugs was never really a war on the drugs themselves. It was and still is a war against black people and other minorities.”
She adds that “Jesus believed in freeing those who are unjustly imprisoned, and as Christians, we must uphold these same values.” Christians must let go of hatred and injustice, she wrote, and “love strangers like Jesus taught us.”
In this year’s contest, Anabaptist high school students in the U.S. were invited to write about the topics of climate change, foreign assistance or mass incarceration. Simon Graber Miller, Greta Schrag and Alistair Tollar won honorable mention prizes of $500 for their essays.
Graber Miller, a Bethany Christian High School senior from Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana, wrote an essay entitled, “Mass Incarceration in America.” Schrag, a sophomore at Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona, Iowa, who attends East Union Mennonite Church, also wrote about mass incarceration, highlighting discrimination against people of color. Tollar is a sophomore at Bethany Christian High School, whose essay focused on the necessity of U.S. foreign assistance.
The MCC U.S. Washington Office’s annual contest encourages youth to explore and understand prominent policy issues while reflecting on how their faith engages with advocacy. The contest is open to Anabaptist youth of high school age and to all youth who attend Mennonite high schools.
Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ
Cherelle M. Dessus is legislative assistant and communications coordinator for the MCC U.S. Washington Office.