The New York Civil Liberties Union today announced the winners of its annual Freedom of Expression Contest, which invites young people in New York City to voice their opinion on important civil rights and civil liberties issues of the day. The annual competition asks young people to address a civil rights or civil liberties topic relevant to their lives. This year's contest theme was inspired by the civil rights movement and the current fight for racial justice and equality for all. Participants were asked to respond to the prompt, “Justice in my community looks like ... ,” by creatively portraying the rights that are most important to them and how those rights impact them on a personal level. Entries covered a wide range of issues including discriminatory policing, LGBT rights, reproductive freedom and immigration. “The Freedom of Expression Contest is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent and passion for social justice that thrives in today's youth,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Each winner approached today's civil rights issues with creativity and originality. We are proud to amplify the voices of the next generation of advocates and community leaders.” Awardees are invited to attend the NYCLU's annual Broadway Stands Up for Freedom benefit concert on Monday, July 20 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University. Dozens of Broadway's finest performers, including 2015 Tony Award-winners Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), Michael Cerveris (Fun Home) and Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I), will take the stage to support the NYCLU's youth programs. Selected winning entries will be highlighted at the show. This year more than 200 young people submitted entries to the Freedom of Expression Contest. The submissions were judged in two categories: Creative Writing and Visual Arts. The contest was open to New York City youth between 10 and 21-years-old. First, second and third place winners and two honorable mentions were selected in both categories. Cash prizes totaling $1,000 were distributed among the winners. WINNERS

Creative Writing Category

First Place: “An Ode to Harlem” by Nkosi Nkululeko (poem; home school; age 19) Second Place: “Handcuffs on Freedom” by Kayla Addison (poem; LaGuardia High School; age 15) Third Place: “It Starts Here” by Sunjay Lee (essay, Stuyvesant High School; age 17) Honorable Mention #1: “The Individuals Justice” by Christine Corulla (poem; Susan E. Wagner High School; age 16) Honorable Mention #2: “Justice in My Community” by Imade Ojo (essay; Sisters in Strength School; age 17)

Visual Arts Category

First Place: “Pro-Choice” by Luna Doherty Ryoke (drawing/illustrated comic; F.H. LaGuardia High School; age 14) Second Place: "Black Women are Killed by the Police Too” by Sore Agbaje (spoken word/video; Urban Word NYC School; age 20) Third Place: “A Rest at the Bank” by Anna Sherman (photograph; Bronx High School of Science; age 17) Honorable Mention #1: “The One Percent” by Chelsea Armada (drawing; Susan E. Wagner High School; age 18) Honorable Mention #2: “Same Love” by Teresa Wang (choreographed dance, recorded on video with music; Bronx High School of Science; age 18) Learn more about the NYCLU's youth programs or find out how you can get tickets to this year's Broadway Stands Up for Freedom benefit concert.