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Pulitzer Center Update January 11, 2023

Winners and Finalists: Local Letters for Global Change 2022

Author:
Tell your representative what global issue you want them to prioritize!
English

Students are invited to make their voices heard this election season by writing a letter to their representative that explains the global issue they want to see prioritized. Deadline: November 13...

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September 15, 2021
Three images from reporting featured by winners of the 2022 Local Letters for Global Change contest.
Images by McNair Evans, Anton L. Delgado, and Shefali Rafiq.

The Pulitzer Center congratulates the 2022 Local Letters for Global Change contest winners and finalists!

Every year, the Local Letters for Global Change contest calls on students to identify issues they feel passionate about, explore underreported stories that offer global and historical context for those issues, and act on their knowledge by advocating for solutions. The twenty young leaders whose work is published below were selected from among some 500 entrants in six countries, 21 U.S. states, and the District of Columbia.

These letters are rooted in students' drive to address the problems facing their own communities. At the same time, they demonstrate the power of global solidarity. Through the journalism they cite and the personal connections they make, the letters illuminate how systemic issues affect people across the world, and how good solutions in one place can serve as a model for others to build on.

Students drew on diverse reporting projects about issues ranging from affordable housing to water sustainability, from cultural memory to corporate accountability. Winning entries address elected representatives at the local, state, and national level. By making direct appeals to people in a position to enact their proposed solutions, students further a goal shared by journalism: they hold power to account.

We are grateful to every participating student and teacher who engaged deeply with a global issue and inspired us with your passion and your insight. You can view the letter-writing workshop guide here and stay up to date on education opportunities and resources by signing up for our weekly education newsletter. The next Local Letters for Global Change contest will open in September 2023.

Contest Winners

First Place, High School Category (Tied)

Vanessa Chen, 11th grade, Stuyvesant High School, NY
Letter on workers' rights

Briseis Obregon, 12th grade, King Kekaulike High School, HI
Letter on Indigenous cultural erasure and education

Patricia Romero, 10th grade, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, MS
Letter on comprehensive sexual health education

First Place, Middle School Category

Hassan Alazzeh, 7th grade, American Community School of Amman, Jordan
Letter on water scarcity and sustainability

First Place, Elementary School Category

Aadhyaa Aravind Shankar, 3rd grade, Vidya Niketan School, India
Letter on wildlife preservation

Finalists

Harper Mitchell, 8th grade, Francine Delany New School for Children, NC
Letter on exposure to lead-based fuel

Charmi Prajapati, 10th grade, Morris County School of Technology, NJ
Letter on sea level rise and nuisance flooding

Claire Simon, 11th grade, Georgetown Day School, D.C.
Letter on reproductive rights and crisis pregnancy centers

Adi Kawakami, 5th grade, San Francisco Schoolhouse, CA
Letter on climate change

Taliyah Langston, 10th grade, Stone Mountain High School, GA
Letter on the use of AI technology in policing

Benjamin Balodis, 12th grade, Stuyvesant High School, NY
Letter on pollution and corporate accountability

Lacey Kennedy, 11th grade, Dominion High School, VA
Letter on food security

Brandon Charite, 11th grade, Miami Norland Senior High School, FL
Letter on climate change, heat exhaustion, and technology

Tristan O'Donnell, 8th grade, Francine Delany New School for Children, NC
Letter on comprehensive sexual health education

Allison Kiska, 8th grade, Holmes Middle School, IL
Letter on reproductive rights

Jackson Morris, 10th grade, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, MS
Letter on racial justice and monuments to the Confederacy

Tameem Zaidat, 12th grade, Maumee Country Day School, OH
Letter on justice for Native survivors of sexual violence

Roshna Harish, 10th grade, Morris County School of Technology, NJ
Letter on climate change and flooding

Maja Szpunar, 12th grade, King Kekaulike High School, HI
Letter on affordable housing

Catherine Dooley, 11th grade, Georgetown Day School, D.C.
Letter on menstrual health


Letters were judged by the Pulitzer Center team based on content and structure according to the criteria in the Local Letters for Global Change judging rubric. The views expressed in these letters do not necessarily represent the views of the Pulitzer Center, its staff, or contest judges.

Thank you to our semifinal and final round judges: Elliott Adams, Hannah Berk, Maryel Cardenas, Kendra Grissom, Donnalie Jamnah, Jessica Mims, Fareed Mostoufi, S. Jaya Mukherjee, and Mark Schulte.