2017 Free Speech Essay Contest

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Applications open: January 17, 2017

Applications close: March 17, 2017


The Hope and Stanley Adelstein Free Speech Essay Contest is right around the corner! We are looking for essays from high school students in Northeast Ohio that discuss the role of free speech in the 21st century. Essays should pull from personal experience, current events, history, politics, art, anything really so long as they are backed up with evidence. Essays will be judged on their clarity, content, originality, and significance. Essays should be between 500-1,000 words.

Submissions will go live in January 2017 and are due in March. We will select three winners from 11/12 grade and three winners from 9/10 grade. Last year we got over 500 submissions, this year we are hoping to get even more. In the meanwhile, if you’re a student, check out some articles on the topic, get familiar with it, and start thinking about how you will set your essay apart from the rest. If you’re a teacher, challenge your students to submit an essay and help them win scholarship money.


“Social media platforms are no longer just a way to connect with friends, but are increasingly used as a way to share news and discuss current events. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have come under fire for failing to protect users from hate speech, while simultaneously facing backlash for failing to protect free speech. Given these contradictory perspectives and the increased prevalence of social media, should social media platforms weigh the value of ensuring the safety and accountability of users versus ensuring the free speech of users?”


Resources to Check Out (warning, many of these articles do include profane language)

Free Speech and Social Media: Where to Draw the Line, American Bar Association

Facebook is not here to protect your freedom of speechBusiness Insider

Inside Twitter's 10-Year Failure To Stop HarassmentBuzzfeed

Twitter Shuts Down ISIS Accounts But Lets White Nationalists StayEngadget

Controversial, Harmful and Hateful Speech on FacebookFacebook Blog

On Twitter, Hate Speech Bounded by Only a Character Limit, Jim Rutenberg

New Ways To Control Your ExperienceTwitter Blog

Why Twitter Can't Shake Its Harassment ProblemThe Wall Street Journal


Contact with any questions!

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