Rev. Dr. Valentino Lassiter

“Continuing the Dream” Award

Student Essay Contest

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned a society in which war and violent oppression give way to hope and lasting peace. During this present time of racially motivated acts of hate as seen across news programs and papers, Dr. King’s vision is all the more significant in 2018 as it was in 1963.

The Rev. Dr. Valentino Lassiter not only shared Dr. King’s dream but also worked to make it a reality by generously serving the church and the wider Cleveland community, leading by word and example, through education, activism, and walking together with those in need.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech, Dr. Lassiter inaugurated the “Continuing the Dream” lecture series. Part I, in 2013, was entitled “Hope and Peace in Word and Song,” Part II, in 2014, highlighted “Women and the Ministry.” For Part III, in 2015, he planned to focus on the contributions and talents of young people who are continuing Dr. King’s dream of equality and harmony across racial, ethnic, and religious boundaries.

This essay contest provides the opportunity to celebrate students who are continuing the dream shared by the Rev. Drs. Lassiter and King of one nation united together in freedom and harmony, with each person being treated with justice and respect.


  • Submit a one thousand word essay and a five hundred word project proposal (typed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font).
  • In the essay, describe one activity in which you have participated that helps further the work of the Rev. Drs. Lassiter and King to realize the American dream of “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” (1000 words)
  • Based on the activity described in the essay, outline a workshop or other short program you could do with other JCU students that would help them grasp the significance of the justice question at the heart of your activity. (500 words)
  • The prizewinner will be expected to run this workshop or other program in the spring semester. Please review the university academic and events calendars and then specify how and when you would propose to carry out your program.

SUBMISSIONS: Submit entries via Google form.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by December 1st to be considered for the award, which will be presented in January of the subsequent year.

PRESENTATION: The Lassiter Award will be presented at JCU events in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

ELIGIBILITY: All currently enrolled John Carroll University students are welcome (and encouraged) to enter this contest.

SELECTION COMMITTEE: TRS Faculty and related colleagues.

PRIZE: $500 prize for the winning entry, awarded after the workshop or program is completed.