The Sioux City Tolerance Week activities began with the announcement of the winners for the annual art and essay contests.  In the middle school division, Jordyn Schubert designed her art to center around the possibilities and hope in our world.  Essay winner, Angelia Sur, an eighth grade student from South Sioux City Middle School considered a quote from Alexander Hamilton, the first treasure and founding father, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything!”

How do we set our own precedent? How do we form the world into a state of utopia? The answer is simple, it starts with us. In very word we scream and song we sing, the future is structuring beneath our feet. Our decisions are the glue to hold or collapse. Fate is the looming shadow behind us, mimicking our every action. 

I want a world where people can be comfortable in their own skin. Where no one is scared for what they believe, their ethnicity, who they love, or who they are. To progress and evolve, we must remember one thing, equality is key.

To combine strength with another rather than weaken them holds greater power in our hands. If we stand as one, the world pulses as one. Our country shames an immigrant for having a job when they've worked so much harder than us to have it. They tell a man he can't qualify for a job that he loves. We let society's stereotypes lock us not break us free. I will unfurl my fists and wrap them around a sign of protest. I will use my voice to chant the voices of our people instead of curse them. I will crush discrimination into dust at the soles of my shoes. I'd die like a martyr so that the people after me live in a safer environment than in the violence that corrupts our nation. The future is in our hands to smash or hold.  Angelia Sur              South Sioux City Middle

Insert photo of Jordyn Schubert’s artwork Hinton Middle School(I have in an email)

High School essay contest winner, Ivan Redhorn , freshman student from Winnebago Public, begins with “It’s not the FUTURE that your’re afraid of, it’s repeating the past.”

It's not the FUTURE that you're afraid of, 

It's repeating the past. 

The past has nothing new for you

If you want a little hint of your future, look at some of the people you hang out with. 

Do something today that your future self would be proud of. 

Help family and friends. 

Be a better person for your future so you can look back and see that you did well.

Don’t let the past get you.

Learn from it.

Learn to change—to show people how to change to make this world a little bit better.

People say it’s a cruel world, but one good heart is plenty…

Artist Brianna Martinez from Bishop Heelan High School captured this week’s theme in her presentation of unity and color.  Along with her visual arts presentation, we’ve included an excerpt from her artist reflection shared at the annual Tolerance Week dinner.

The artist theme this year was “You are the future..”  and when I thought about this topic it reminded me of last year’s theme. I was inspired to draw these hands and wrists to represent different cultures and people from last year’s theme.  I added the quote, “Why do we search for strength to stand alone when we can build strength by standing together” Together we will create a world where compassion and understanding stand strong.

When I look at the picture and added the quote I thought how future generations would need to be protected.   We need to stop being so isolated in this world, often thinking only of ourselves and we need to work together to make good things happen.  Compassion and understanding must stand strong.

The hands symbolize that only together can we protect the heart of all people and without the “we”, meaning all cultures and countries , this will not happen.  Our future depends on cooperation.

The heart symbolizes all morals and values and everything “we” the people aspire to be.  Our future generations must hold those morals and values in our hands…together, as all people and all cultures..we should never forget what we have held dear to our hearts.  Compassion and understanding must stand strong.

My generation is the future and right now, all over the world  lives have been disrupted and challenged. We need to set aside our differences and embrace those ideas that will connect the world in positive ways….we need to treat each other as equals… tolerate…no accept……NO celebrate our differences.  It is our differences that make us strong and our future possible.

It is my hope that in my lifetime, we all will find a way to know each other…and to create a worldwide community.  We need to find a better way to build  community and help others understand how the differences make us stronger….I am the future…we are the future. Compassion and understanding must stand strong.

Thank you.

Dr. Mike Rogers, East Middle School Principal was awarded the Tolerance Award for 2017.  Jerry and Kathy Weiner, whose foundation sponsors “Tolerance Week” events in Sioux City presented the award to Dr. Rogers. 

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