The Orange County Stop Hate Challenge is sponsored by Zachor Antisemitism Initiative, Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County to promote tolerance and understanding through education.


This year’s topic: Becoming an Upstander; Building Bridges For Humanity

The challenge is open to Orange County students in grades 6-8 and 9-12.


Two cash prizes of $200 each will be awarded to winning submissions in each grade group.

In addition, prizes of $100 each will be awarded to the teachers of the winning students.

Honorable Mentions will be awarded $100 for the student and $50 for the teacher in each grade group.


All student submissions are due no later than: March 22, 2024
For more specific directions and requirements, or continue reading below.


The 2024 Stop Hate Challenge Topic: Becoming an Upstander; Building Bridges For Humanity 

An Upstander is a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person or group of people in harm's way.


  • Have you ever witnessed a classmate, friend or relative being shunned and hurt?
  • Can you imagine standing up for, and helping this person?
  • How would you, as a bystander, become an upstander or peer superhero, and how could your actions help and inspire bridge building within and beyond your community?


Reflecting on the questions above, and some of the quotes below, prepare an expression in the form of an essay, poem or song (MP3), about an actual experience that motivated you, or a hypothetical experience that may motivate you in the future, to take action and assist!


Choose one or more of these keywords and concepts to include in your reflection: 

Resilience, humanity, bridge builder, upstander, community, advocate

Quotes to consider on this topic: 


  • Martin Luther King Jr. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends… The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."
  • Rabbi Sacks “Acts of kindness never die. They linger in the memory, giving life to other acts in return.” 
  • Booker T. Washington “The highest test of civilization of any race is in its willingness to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. A race, like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up.”
  • Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech “…I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must speak, we must take sides…Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented… Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”


*Please include references and citations of sources from scholarly material at the end of your essay or poem when appropriate.


*Judges are interested in your unique and personal reflections on the topic.




1. Students must be residents of Orange County; in grades 6-12 currently attending public or private school or being homeschooled. ELL and MLL students may submit their essay, poem or song (MP3), in their primary language– we ask that a sponsoring teacher send an English translation


2. The maximum word count is 1,000 words for grades 6-8, and 1,500 words for grades 9-12


3. All submissions must be original. AI generated material will be disqualified. You must cite your sources when appropriate 

  • Include a cover page with your name, grade, school, sponsoring teacher, and teacher contact information
  • Include a title on the first page of the essay or poem
  • Entries must be typed, and double-spaced. Song lyrics must accompany the MP3 file
  • Submit as a PDF file not as a Google doc



4. Attach your submission to an email and send it to: 

The following information must be included in the body of your email in order to be considered:

  • Your full name
  • School name
  • Grade level
  • Teacher name
  • Parent/Guardian name, phone number and personal email address


5. Emailed entries must be received NO LATER THAN March 22, 2024


If you have questions please email:

For PDF to print CLICK HERE!