Sixty Student Essays on Race, Ethnicity, and Identity Recognized in “Letters to…” National Writing Contest and Exhibition
- As part of the #MakeNoiseToday initiative, the “Letters to…” writing contest was designed to empower youth to champion racial equality by amplifying their stories.
- Over 900 high schoolers from diverse backgrounds in the U.S. submitted stories with their thoughts on racial inequities; 10 essays were awarded a cash prize and $10,000 in total was given out to the winners.
- Selected stories will be exhibited from today through to Aug. 31 at the Billy Jean King Library in Long Beach before traveling across the nation; entrance to the exhibit is free.
LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a time when students across America are asking to be heard, Long Beach-based creative agency Intertrend joined together with local businesses to empower high schoolers’ voices on the subject of race, ethnicity, and identity. In December 2021, students across America were asked to write on the subject of race as part of the inaugural “Letters To... An Extraordinary Correspondence” writing contest developed by Intertrend’s Make Noise Today initiative. Students were encouraged to put otherwise difficult to express thoughts and feelings into words in the form of letters to themselves, family, teachers—and even their bullies—on race, ethnicity, and identity. A total of 60 stories were selected and will form part of an exhibition launched last night at the Billie Jean King Main Library in Long Beach.
“We were impressed and honored to receive so many letters that spoke openly, honestly and directly about the struggles of race and identity. While many stories told of sadness and struggle, they also shared words of gratitude, hopefulness, personal journeys and learnings,” said CEO and Founder Julia Huang of Intertrend, a multicultural creative agency that has helped U.S. brands to better understand, communicate and reach Asian American audiences for over 30 years. The agency founded the MakeNoiseToday.org program in May 2020 to create empathy and equity through AAPI storytelling.
With the number of racial attacks and on-campus violence on the rise, youth across America have deep concerns on issues of race and identity and want to be heard. In response, Intertrend gathered the support of other businesses, agency partners and associations to champion racial equality with the “Letters to…” writing competition and exhibit. Out of more than 900 submissions, 10 essays were awarded a cash prize and $10,000 in total was given out to the winners. The winning stories are now part of a live and virtual exhibit in Long Beach through the end of August and will be seen by more than 75,000 visitors over three months before making its way across the U.S.
“Letters to…” partner and licensed clinical psychologist, Ioana Pal, Psy.D., from Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, also remarked on the timeliness of the initiative, saying, “Now is an ideal time for parents to listen and validate their child’s experience. If you offer support, sensitivity, and patience, they’re more receptive to talking about how to get through it.”
The winning student submissions were announced last night at the exhibit launch event and include:
- First Place - Aida G., (Cary, N.C.) – “Mama”
- Gold - Scarlett C., (Maplewood, N.J.) – “Nothing To See”
- Gold - Kenna P., (Shreveport, La.) – “Were You With Them?”
- Silver - Amerie G., (San Fernando, Calif.) – “The Hands That Built Us”
- Silver - Natasha Q., (Lake Forest, Calif.) – “Your Hair, Your Crown”
- Silver - Arabella V., (Fullerton, Calif.) – “Other”
- Honorable Mention - Arshia A., (Warren, N.Y.) – “What’s in a Name?”
- Honorable Mention - My H., (Aurora, Colo.) – “Con”
- Honorable Mention - Xin L., (Queens, N.Y.) – “Xin Lu”
- Honorable Mention - Sage S., (Washington, D.C.) – “How Do You Love Yourself in a World That Hates You, Black Girl?”
The exhibit will be open from June 10 to Aug. 31 at 200 West Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802 (Billie Jean King Main Library). Paid parking is available in the Civic Center Garage, or metered street parking is also available. Additional parking options can be located by visiting www.parklb.com/parking-lotsgarages/downtown-parking/.
To date, the exhibition has raised over $20,000 thanks to the generous financial support of MemorialCare, ODK Media, Willow TV, Major League Cricket, City National Bank, Asian Journal, Datawrkz, Little Saigon Radio, and RainTree Partners. Additional support comes from Long Beach Public Library, Teach For America, Diversify Our Narrative, Act To Change, Youth Against Hate, Speak Up 626, Make Us Visible NJ and APIA Education Equity.
For more information on Make Noise Today, please visit makenoisetoday.org.
About Intertrend Communications
Intertrend is a multicultural creative agency that understands the intersection of cultures, emerging trends, and the interaction between brands and consumers. With a passionate team of over 70 professionals, Intertrend creates deeply resonant and exceptional consumer experiences. Founded 30 years ago and based in Long Beach, Calif. and Plano, Texas, the agency has worked with leading automotive, financial services, retail, entertainment, pharmaceutical, and telecom brands. Intertrend also houses a family of entrepreneurial brand units that build to its core expertise across digital, content and experiential, including The Art of Bloom, Creative Class Collective, Imprint Culture Lab, Imprint Venture Lab, Long Beach Walls, Make Noise Today, Couriers of Hope, Unexpected Connections, Architecture for Dogs, and The Psychic Temple. Interpreters and interrupters, interdisciplinary and international, Intertrend is where culture and content meet. Learn more at intertrend.com.
Meehan Business Advisers for Intertrend