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**10/1/18 UPDATE** - MCRC Announces Essay Competition for Seats on Student Panel at Grand Rapids Hearing on Discrimination in Education

**10/1/18 UPDATE** - If any student or individual wishes to discuss confidentially their experience of discrimination in Michigan schools, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights will schedule a private interview. In order to maintain confidentiality, these interviews will be conducted by a diverse group of MDCR senior staff and will not be subject to the Open Meetings Act.

September 28, 2018

Lansing,MI–Are you a high school student or recent graduate who is interested in sharing your personal experiences related to discrimination in Michigan schools? The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) wants to hear from you.

MCRC will hold the third in a series of public hearings on Oct. 8 to examine the issue of discrimination in Michigan’s K-12 schools. The hearing will take place at the Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids - Airport, located at 5700 28th St. S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546.

At the Oct. 8 hearing, Commissioners are interested in hearing from a panel of high school students and recent graduates who will describe their experiences and concerns on this important topic.

To be considered for a seat on the student panel, applicants must submit an essay or video between 2 and 4 minutes in length answering one of the questions below. The deadline to submit your essay or video for consideration is Friday, Oct. 5.

Students must select one of the questions below and submit an essay of up to 2 pages in length to present at the Oct. 8 MCRC hearing. Essays should be no less than 2 minutes and no more than 4 minutes in length when delivered at the hearing.

Proposed essay questions:

  • If you attend/attended a high school that is primarily made up of students of color located in an urban setting, what are the greatest challenges you face/faced in receiving an education? Why?
  • If you attend/attended a high school that is primarily made up of white students located in an urban or suburban setting, what are the greatest challenges you face/faced in receiving an education? Why?
  • What are your perceptions and realities about race and color that you face/faced every day while attending high school? Did this experience prepare you for after graduating high school?
  • If you are a student of color attending or who attended a high school primarily made up of white students, what were your experiences in interacting with teachers? Please provide examples and support for your conclusions.

Along with an essay, applicants for the student panel must submit your full name, age, the name of the high school you attend or attended, a phone number where you can be reached and your email address.

Submit essays/videos to Agustin V. Arbulu, Executive Director, Michigan Department of Civil Rights at no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Oct 5.  


The first 20 students to submit an essay or video will receive $10 for their submission. Eight finalists chosen to serve on the Oct. 8 panel will receive an additional $30 and a list of non-monetary incentives, including:

  • Community service credit
  • Luncheon with MDCR Director and Commissioners on Oct. 8, 2018
  • School recognition
  • Official certificate of participation from the Commission
  • Panelists’ essays/videos will be posted on the MDCR website

Find information on the Commission’s hearings into discrimination in Michigan’s K-12 schools, the Oct. 8 Commission hearing in Grand Rapids, and essay requirements by clicking here or go to and click the "Hearings on Discrimination in K-12 Schools" button on the left.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to carry out constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operation arm of the Commission.

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