The ORANGE COUNTY STOP THE HATE contest was established by the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County to promote tolerance and understanding through education.


This year’s topic is: Agents of Positive Change.


Cash prizes of $200 each will be awarded to the winning submission from grades 7-9 and grades 10-12. In addition prizes of $100 each will also be awarded to the teachers of the winning students.


Prompt: “I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.”   -John Lewis


Freedom of speech/expression is a human right and is a right given to Americans in the United States Bill of Rights. Yet, the right to free speech is not unlimited, and does not allow us to: express views which advocate hatred, or are based on prejudices with regard to race, ethnicity, gender or religion.


Share how we can all learn to be agents of positive change in order to be responsible citizens. Honestly and thoughtfully respond to the task below.



  • Choose a group or a person who stood for civil rights from world or US history
  • In an essay, poem, or song briefly describe the historical circumstances that led to hate speech AND how the group/individual responded to speech that was racist, bigoted, antisemitic, or hateful.
  • Discuss how this group’s or individual’s actions led to positive change for their community
  • Share what you’ve learned through your life experiences and tell how you’ll apply that knowledge in helping to create a brighter future.


Suggestions: Think about your own life. Have you witnessed or experienced acts of antisemitism, injustice, racism, bigotry, or discrimination? How were you impacted by what you experienced, saw, or heard? What did you do, or what will you do, in response to these circumstances in order to ensure justice and create positive change in your community?


In addition you may consider why hate speech predominantly targets people of color, immigrants or those who believe in a different religion than you do, and blame them for social and economic problems.


This is not a book report. Judges are interested in your personal reflections of the events and the individuals you have chosen.


1. Students must be residents of Orange County, students in grades 7-12 currently attending public or private school or being home schooled.


2. The maximum word count for essays is 1,000 words for grades 7-9, and 1,500 words for grades 10-12.  *You may submit a poem of any length or an audio file (with lyrics) of an original song.


3. All submissions must (1) have a title, (2) be typed, (3) be double-spaced (4) be a Word doc or PDF. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON YOUR SUBMISSION.


4. Attach your submission to an email to: Your email must contain the following information in order to be considered:

Your full name

School name

Grade level

Parent/Guardian phone number

Personal email address (not a school email) (yours or parent/guardian)


5. Email must be received NO LATER THAN March 28, 2022