Broward County Library's African-American Research Library and Cultural Center Announces Winners of  Black History Month Essay & Art Competition

L-R: Vermitha Charles, Raul Garcia, Madeline Falick, Jewel Murray, Sophia Feliciano-Bonilla, Ramiyah Rose.

L-R: Vermitha Charles, Raul Garcia, Madeline Falick, Jewel Murray, Sophia Feliciano-Bonilla, Ramiyah Rose.

DATE: February 13, 2014
Libraries Division
PHONE: 954-357-6190

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Three young essay writers and three young artists were selected to win this year’s 2014 Black History Month Essay & Art Competition at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC), located at  2650 Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 (954-357-2810). On Saturday, February 8, 2014 a ceremony was held in the auditorium where the confident young people read their essays or described their artwork. Then, following a short but dynamic program by storyteller Tamara Green, they received their exciting, electronic prizes. The contest was sponsored by the Friends of AARLCC with prizes courtesy of Best Buy.

The youngsters were selected from three different age categories and the subject of their assignment was “What Do Civil Rights in America Today Mean to You?” They were asked to consider the ongoing impact that the civil rights era has on the lives of Americans today. This year, for the first time, there was an art competition as well as an essay competition, which provided three additional winners.

The winners of the 2014 Black History Month Essay Competition are:

  • Category: Grades 4-6 - Ramiyah Rose, Grade 4, Collins Elementary School
    In her essay, Rose said, “Yes, my civil rights would still be available if no one fights for them because I will fight for them and I won’t let anyone stand in my way. The way I would change the laws and customs would be by becoming the president of the United States of America and to have the House of Representatives work with me to change the laws.”
  • Category: Grades 7-9 - Madeleine Falick, Grade 9, Coral Springs High School
    Falick wrote that, “Without civil rights, the United States would be overwhelmingly different. How we would look to the rest of the world, how we would ultimately feel about ourselves, even everyday life would not be the same. Barack Obama would not be the President, blacks would not enter the same universities, black athletes would not stay at the same hotel as their fellow players, and women could not vote.”
  • Category: Grades 10-12 - Raul Garcia, Grade 12, William T. McFatter Technical High School
    In his essay, Garcia wrote that “Support groups like ‘Silence Hurts’ and ‘Amnesty International’ have emerged to support and encourage the oppressed in their fight for individuals’ civil rights; the very same fight that great leaders like Harvey Milk and Gloria Steinem fought decades ago. Those discriminated, rejected or hazed members of society must still endure the daily fight to defend their Civil Rights. As Martin Luther King once said, ‘The day you don’t stand up for what matters is the day your life ends.’”

The winners of the 2014 Black History Month Art Competition are

  • Category: Grades 4-6 - Sophia Feliciano-Bonilla, Grade 4, Rick & Rita Case Boys and Girls Club
    In her art, Feliciano-Bonilla made a collage of African-American civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with his words, “I Have a Dream,” along with Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks, surrounded by bright colors and peace symbols.
  • Category: Grades 7-9 -Jewel Murray, Grade 7, Mt. Olivet SDA Junior Academy
    Murray pictured two hands from people of different races, joined together, forming a heart between them with the earth in the background surrounded by rainbow rays of light. The title is “Equality, Freedom and Justice for All” with the subtitle of “Civil Rights.”
  • Category: Grades 10-12 - Vernitha Charles, Grade 10, Dillard High School
     In her art, Charles drew a power fist with rainbow bands around the wrist and national flags on the curled fingers, under the title, “Unity,” with a caption saying, “ONE Nation Under God.”
More photos of the event and complete essays are available upon request. Contact Steve Vinik, 954-357-6190 or email

The award-winning Broward County Libraries Division, founded in 1974, is the ninth largest library system in the nation by population served and one of the busiest, with more than 9 million walk-in customers visiting its 40 locations annually. The library has more than 3.4 million items and 2,000 computers for public use, and offers hundreds of events and programs to meet the needs of Broward County's diverse community. Broward County Libraries Division continues its strong emphasis on literacy, after-school programs and electronic access. In addition to our comprehensive Web site,, which provides information about library activities, links to online catalogs, reference information and databases, customers can visit BCL WoW - Broward County Library Without Walls – for free eBooks, music, audiobooks, apps and more. Customers may also follow Libraries on Facebook and Twitter. Libraries Division also administers the services, programs, collections and exhibits of the Broward County Historical Commission.



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