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'Do you have a fingerprint? Then you have a voice': West essay winners announced

Winning compositions in Dr. Cornel West contest speak to different perspectives, experiences

Following the virtual University of Nevada, Reno January conference, “Minds, Means, and Materials,” conference participants wanted to encourage further work with the ideas and discussions with our keynote, Dr. Cornel West. As a result, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has sponsored the Dr. Cornel West Composition Contest. Participants were asked to engage with Dr. West’s work in a way that would appeal to audiences who might not be familiar with his work, through whatever media made sense for the authors and their audiences. The contest attracted submissions from the University and beyond, resulting in three wonderful winners:

1st Place: “An unstoppable fire for the truth” by Connie Taylor, DRI

2nd Place: “A Black Fist: Assessing African-American Leadership in the US” by Yaseen Shah, George Washington University

3rd Place: “My Blackness is Intangible” by Pa’shun Minter, University of Nevada, Reno

These pieces include diverse perspectives related to Dr. West’s work, and the diversity of voices represents well Dr. West’s call for listening widely. In his keynote in January, Dr. West was asked how people can find their voices. He responded, “Do you have a fingerprint? Then you have a voice.” These three writers have shared their voices, and they speak to us from very different perspectives on very different topics. I would like to thank everyone who submitted their compositions. I would like to thank UNR faculty and staff members Christina F. Adelaja, Paul Mitchell, Louis Niebur, Linda Olman, and Devin O. Williams for helping to build the competition and for being our judges. I would especially like to thank Eloisa Gordon-Mora, UNR’s Diversity Officer, for her support throughout the conference planning and the composition conest, not to mention her office sponsoring the three prizes. The winning compositions were showcased during the Northern Nevada Diversity Summit on April 8, 2021.

(Editor’s Note: The three winning submissions will be posted in the coming days on NSights.)

William Macauley photo
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