Download the PDF -Nonviolence Week Poetry Contest Guidelines 2018

Nonviolence Week Poetry Contest

A perfect ELA project to start the year!

October 6th-12th marks the annual Ohio Nonviolence Week, which was founded by Youngstown City School Sojourn to the Past students in 2013. Last year, a K-12 poetry contest was included among the week’s festivities. The purpose of Nonviolence Week and the focus of the contest is to promote peace in our local, national, and global community. Local English teachers and professors will be judging this year’s contest, and careful consideration will be given to all poems submitted.

Cash awards will be given to winners in each of four categories:

  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

To submit poems: email attachments to Marisa Simon at or email her to notify that hand-written copies are ready for pick up.

Important details to know about the Nonviolence Week Poetry Contest:

1. The contest is open to all students in the Mahoning Valley from kindergarten through 12th grade.
2. Poems must focus on themes related to nonviolence: justice, peace, reconciliation, etc. (Dr. King’s six principles of nonviolence and six steps of nonviolent social change are listed on the back and are good places to start when brainstorming for ideas.)
3. Poems can be of any length or style—as long as it’s original. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.
4. Poems can be typed, handwritten, or recorded as an audio or video file. Typed poems should be 200 words or less. Audio/video files should be three minutes or less.
5. All entrees must include a SEPARATE COVER SHEET with the student’s name, grade, school name or organization, and the poem title. The student’s name, address, or school should not appear on the poem.
6. All poems received September 20th, 2019 will be eligible for prizes.
7. All finalists’ work will be featured in the Nonviolence Week Art Reception at SMARTS on Thursday, October 10th (5:00 – 7:00PM) where the prize winners will be announced.

Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride
Toward Freedom. The six principles include:
1. PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
It is active nonviolent resistance to evil. It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
2. PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of
nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation. The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the
3. PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.Nonviolence recognizes that
evildoers are also victims and are not evil people. The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not
4. PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence
accepts suffering without retaliation. Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous
educational and transforming possibilities.
5. PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. Nonviolence resists violence of the
spirit as well as the body. Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
6. PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent
resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.

The Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change are based on Dr. King’s nonviolent campaigns and
teachings that emphasize love in action. Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence, as reviewed in the
Six Principles of Nonviolence, guide these steps for social and interpersonal change.
1. INFORMATION GATHERING: To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a
person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital
information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the
problem. You must become an expert on your opponent’s position.
2. EDUCATION: It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This
minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy.
3. PERSONAL COMMITMENT: Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of
nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in
your work for justice.
4. DISCUSSION/NEGOTIATION: Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with
a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is
positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the
opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.
5. DIRECT ACTION: These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain
in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a “creative tension” into the conflict, supplying
moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice.
6. RECONCILIATION: Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent.
Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems,
forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise,
both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close
to the ‘Beloved Community.’