We are very excited to announce the winners of our Unheard Speechwriting competition. Our speech prompt asked students to choose a group of people whose voices are going unheard and make an argument as to why we need to listen to that group of people. Our students chose to speak on behalf of children experiencing homelessness, veterans, Black lives, women and foster children.

Our winning speechwriter, T.C., a young woman at the Wyoming Girls School, chose to speak on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse. She says “I want for the unheard voices to know that they will be heard,” and she encourages her listeners to support survivors, to let them know they can “trust and believe.”  T.C. bravely shares her own experience, and speaks directly to friends and loved ones who are also survivors.  She notes statistics that highlight the small percentage of sexual abuse cases that lead to arrest; she emphasizes the importance of listening to survivors.  She is clear: “I am not afraid to take a stand even though it caused me to be rejected by my family for telling the truth.” She is resolute: “I will keep on pushing.” And she deserves our support for coming forth. 

We hope you take a moment to listen to all of this year's winners by visiting our Unheard website (scroll to bottom of page).

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This month, we're sponsoring our songwriting initiative, Unsung, to further amplify our students' voices. Unsung began last week with a launch contest that focused on the Rock the Vote Campaign.  Students were asked to write lyrics that could be used in a Rock the Vote song, and we're excited to announce our launch contest winner!

Congratulations to KH  from RFK South Hadley for winning first prize. Her lyrics sent a strong and impactful message to young voters. She will win a lyric journal and her school will receive a microphone. 

Who will you vote for to enforce justice and freedom 

Our vote is our hope, a light, a beacon. 

Left and right you may feel unseen and unheard 

Which is all the reason to vote on November 3rd. 

We'd also like to give a shoutout to JJ from Hogan Street who won our Honorable Mention category. 

Instead, voting for gun laws

Vote for kids who are facing juvenile life

You should respect where you live

And love where you stay

Now go make that vote and make my day 

We're looking forward to receiving many great song submissions for the overall Unsung competition and we can't wait to share those with you when we announce our winners at the end of the month.

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We are ready to launch the materials for Unsung: The Voices of Youth Justice. We have a brand new launch contest this year centered around the history of Rock the Vote! Click here to check out the launch contest. 

The Unsung webpage contains the new curriculum, teachers' videos, contest guidelines, and so much more. Click here to visit the Unsung website. 

Please do not forget to register for Unsung so we can create your Soundtrap accounts!

You must also register in order to receive Unsung updates.

Register Here

We will be hosting a Zoom meeting to introduce the curriculum, discuss the song contest, and answer your questions on Wednesday, September 23rd.  Please add the Zoom meeting to your calendar and join us!

Unheard Zoom Meeting September 23, 2020 5:00 PM EST

Link to Zoom

Book Club Opportunity

We're excited to announce our new partnership with Reginald Dwayne Betts and the Million Book Project. Through this partnership, each month we will be sharing free copies of a selected book, discussion questions and student reflection journals.  These guides will be similar to the materials we developed over the summer to go along with Just Mercy.

Our goal is to increase access to meaningful and engaging books for your students, encourage reading and honest dialogue around contemporary fiction that delves into issues that young people in confinement face, and help you expand your school libraries. The first book, and our October selection is Dwayne Betts’ recent book of poetry, Felon. Other books will include: Insurrections, by Rion Almicar Scott, Children of Blood and Bones, by Tomi Adeyemi, Men We Reaped, by Jesymn Ward, Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo and Heavy, by Kiese Laymon.

Each month, we will announce the name of the selected book and send out a registration form to participate in our lottery.  We anticipate providing a classroom set of books to fifteen to twenty sites each month.

If you want to receive copies of Felon and participate in the October Book Club, click the button below.

Register for the October Book Lottery

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