2014 ABA YLD Law Day Contest Winners
On May 1, 2014 the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division announced that Jessica Koester of Crescent City Junior/Senior High School in Crescent City, Fla., has won its fourth annual Law Day Art Contest for single entry and that Priscila Miramontes and Berwo Mberwa of Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy in Denver won first place in the group submission category.
“What an amazing and wonderful portrayal of how the right to vote has affected our nation, changed the face of our country and ‘Why Every Vote Matters,’” said Mario A. Sullivan, chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. “This great piece of art holds true to the importance of the right to vote in our democracy.”
In the spirit of collaboration, Miramontes and Mberwa’s artwork was titled “Our Vote Matters.”
“It is heartening to me that we have so many passionate young student-artists who appreciate the importance of ‘Why Every Vote Matters,’” said Courtenay Dunn, public service director of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. “I am hopeful that we can all carry this theme on in continuing to educate our young people about the right to vote, and the importance of the right to vote, in this country.”
The winners of the contest will receive prizes up to $750. Finalists were evaluated based on originality, creativity, quality and relevance to the contest theme.
Steward Atwood, a homeschooled student in Garland, Texas, was the runner-up in the single-entry category. Yanek Carrion-Kozak and Acacia Garcia of the Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy in Denver were runners-up in the group category.
The annual Law Day Contest is an opportunity for students to learn about the legal system. All U.S. students, grades nine to 12, were eligible to submit an art piece on this year’s contest theme.
Envisioned in 1957 by then-ABA President Charles S. Rhyne as a special national day of recognition, the first Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower the following year. Congress issued a joint resolution in 1961 designating May 1 as the official day to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law.
While Law Day is officially recognized on May 1, many civic groups and bar associations celebrate with a month of programs, presentations and events.
About the Theme
One of our most cherished national ideals, expressed eloquently by Abraham Lincoln, is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” It is a principle enshrined in our Nation’s founding documents, from the Declaration of Independence’s assurance that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed, to the opening three words of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, “We the People.”
The right to vote is the very foundation of government by the people. For this reason, striving to establish and protect every citizen’s right to vote has been a central theme of American legal and civic history. Much of the struggle on voting rights began decades ago, but the work is far from complete, and a citizen’s right to cast a ballot remains at risk today.
As we approach the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 2014 Law Day theme, American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters, calls on every American to reflect on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote and the challenges we still face in ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy