By tamaraHave you been following the Michael Brown case? Of course you have. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s nearly impossible not to see something about it on television or social media. Many people are upset with the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict, but there are also those who have read the evidence and agree with the findings. Unfortunately, some have turned to violence and crime to express their frustration, which is not a constructive way to start a dialogue or bring about change. There is, however, a more creative (and safe) environment for you to defend your position, whether it is for or against the Grand Jury’s decision. The Bill of Rights Institute hosts an annual We The Students Scholarship Contest that is meant to engage students in a dialogue about liberty, the founding principles of our country, and personal responsibility. Given the current turmoil in Ferguson and other cities, it’s the perfect forum for students, like you, to offer real solutions or to point out our country’s shortcomings when it comes to the ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence. And there’s an added bonus…scholarship money! Interested? Here’s everything you need to know. Eligibility The contest is open to U.S. citizens and legal residents who are in grades 9 through 12. Students must also be between the ages of 14 and 19 to enter. Essay Requirements In 800 words or less, you must answer the following essay prompt: “Since you were born, has America moved closer to or further away from the ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence.” If you’re not fond of writing, you can also submit a video (must be uploaded to YouTube) addressing the same topic. The video must be no more than two and a half minutes in length. Deadline You may only submit one entry (either essay or video). The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. PST on December 5, 2014. Prizes If you submit an essay, you may be eligible to win one of the following scholarship awards: 1st Place – $5,000 (one award) 2nd Place – $3,000 (one award) 3rd Place – $1,500 (one award) Honorable Mention – $300 (five awards) There is only one scholarship award available for YouTube video submissions. The winning entry in that category will receive $1,000. Act Fast! Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to get moving. You won’t change anything by yelling at the TV or complaining on Facebook, but you could instead use your words to inspire others. There are only four days left to submit your essay or video, so do it today!