California Legislators Announce Scholarship Contests to Raise Armenian Genocide Awareness

A scene from a previous award ceremony.

The California Armenian Legislative Caucus is holding two scholarship contests for the 2021 commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. California high school students in 9th through 12th grade are invited to participate in an essay contest and/or a visual arts contest to increase greater awareness of the Armenian Genocide on its anniversary.

All winners will be contacted directly and announced to mainstream and Armenian media by the California Armenian Legislative Caucus on Friday, April 16, 2021. All winners will be awarded scholarships and a trip to the State Capitol in Sacramento to be acknowledged at the California Armenian Legislative Caucus’ annual Armenian Advocacy Day during a press conference on Monday, April 26, 2021 and receive special recognition from the members of the Armenian Caucus. Original artwork will be requested from visual arts applicants if they are selected as a finalist, for possible display in the California State Capitol.

**Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this may not be an in-person event. Final details will be given closer to the event date.

Criteria for each contest are detailed below. Students may enter both contests, but submissions must be entered separately.

Essay Scholarship Awards:

First Place: $1,000

Second Place: $750

Third Place: $500

Visual Art Scholarship Awards:

First Place: $1,000

Second Place: $750

Third Place: $500

Submission Deadline for both contests is Friday, April 9, 2021. Any submissions sent after the deadline will not be accepted.

Essay Criteria:

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have grown exponentially, especially during the 2020 pandemic. Many individuals, businesses and organizations use Facebook and other platforms to share various information, including the news. It is important that this information is factual, unbiased and true. The spread of falsified, distorted and inaccurate information on social media can be dangerous, especially when this information is circulated amongst millions of users.

In 2018, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, stated that he did not think that Facebook should censor or remove what “Holocaust deniers”—as he called them—posted on their accounts because he said that there are things that various people get wrong. However, in October 2020, he changed his decision and stated that Facebook would now ban content that distorts or denies the Holocaust, due to an increase in anti-Semitic violence.

This year’s essay prompt asks contestants to write a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, urging that Facebook take the same course of action against denial and distorted posts regarding the 1915 Armenian Genocide as they have with the Holocaust. Reflect on Facebook’s updated Community Standards regarding the Holocaust:

Community Standards, Section III. Objectionable Content, Sub Section 12. Hate Speech, Tier 1:
Content targeting a person or group of people (including all subsets except those described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses) on the basis of their aforementioned protected characteristic(s) or immigration status with:

  • Designated dehumanizing comparisons, generalizations, or behavioral statements (in written or visual form)- that include:
    • Denying or distorting information about the Holocaust

**Please note that Section III. Objectionable Content, Sub Section 12. Hate Speech, Tier 1 includes much more content that is not allowed on Facebook. The information above is limited to just the specific content regarding the Holocaust for your reference on where the policy language can be found. There is more information listed under this sub section.

All submissions must be received by the California Armenian Legislative Caucus electronically on or before the submission deadline of Friday, April 9, 2021 at 1915essay@gmail.com.

Please include your name, age, address, high school and grade along with the teacher’s name, email address and subject area at the top of the essay.

Please save submissions using your name as the document title and email as an attachment to 1915essay@gmail.com. Any submissions sent after the deadline will not be accepted.

Visual Art Criteria:

This year’s theme is “Human to Human Interaction.” All applicants must develop their submission in keeping with this theme.

  1. Personal statement (300-500 words) explaining the artwork and how it connects to the theme of human-to-human interaction. In the top left corner, applicant must include: name, age, primary address, high school, grade, teacher’s name and subject (if applicable), phone number, and email address (this information will not count as part of the total word count).
  2. Only two-dimensional, visual art submissions will be accepted. Submission types are limited to drawings, paintings, photographs, digital illustrations, and graphic design.
  3. Submissions may not exceed an 11×17 frame and must weigh less than 25 pounds.
  4. Submissions may not include any nudity, excessive and/or graphic violence, racial slurs, derogatory and/or offensive language, profanity, and may not make use of or replicate existing artwork. All submissions must be original work created by the applicant.

Submission Contents

  1. Email subject, as well as titles of the attached document, must be formatted as follows: “CALC – Student Name – Title of Piece” (e.g. CALC – William Saroyan – The Time of Your Life).
  2. Submissions must include the personal statement and meet the criteria listed.
  3. Submissions must include a high-definition photograph of the artwork, be sure to take a close up picture with enough lighting for the reviewers to see the detail of the work. It is acceptable to submit up to five photos. Be aware of the lighting of the piece and provide different angles to showcase the depth of the artwork.
  4. Submissions must include one recent high-definition photograph of the applicant, suitable for publication (e.g. cap and gown photos, professional headshots, or quality photographs/close-ups of the applicant).

All submissions must be received by the California Armenian Legislative Caucus electronically on or before the submission deadline of Friday, April 9, 2021 at 1915essay@gmail.com.

Please include your name, age, address, high school, and grade along with the teacher’s name, email address and subject area at the top of the essay.

Please save submissions using your name as the document title and email as an attachment to 1915essay@gmail.com. Any submissions sent after the deadline will not be accepted.

For Historical Context for Both Contests:

http://www.Armenian-Genocide.org

http://genocideeducation.org

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/12/zuckerberg-holocaust-denial-facebook/

https://time.com/5899201/facebook-holocaust-denial/

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/world/europe/turkeys-century-of-denial-about-an-armenian-genocide.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2019/12/17/denial-is-the-final-stage-of-genocide-the-armenians-know-it-best/?sh=65d37ca570b1

https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-twitter-hate-speech-holocaust-denial-armenian-genocide-2020-12

https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-holocaust-denial-ban-will-not-apply-to-other-genocides-2020-10

Mark Zuckerberg’s original statement regarding “Holocaust deniers” from 2018:

https://www.vox.com/explainers/2018/7/20/17590694/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-holocaust-denial-recode

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/19/mark-zuckerberg-holocaust-denial-facebook-remarks-offensive

Read original article here.