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Madisyn “Maddy” Ford

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Oscar Smith HS Teen Wins Dominion Energy Essay Contest On Justice

Special to the New Journal and Guide

Madisyn “Maddy” Ford may only be a sophomore in high school, but she’s ready to change the world, and is off to a great start. The Oscar Smith High School student from Chesapeake won the student essay competition for the 9th Annual Strong Men and Strong Women in Virginia History event hosted by Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia.

Maddy was recognized, along with three other student winners from across Virginia, during a recent virtual awards ceremony. Each submitted a creative piece about their own experiences with social justice and how they have seen it impact discussions about race in the United States.

What Maddy wants everyone to take away from her essay, written in poetic structure, is that it will take “everyone working together to bring about justice.”

The Chesapeake teen’s submission, “So What is Social Justice?” answers the question with powerful and heartfelt words from the past and present.

When asked about her winning entry, Maddy said, “Things need to change. It may not be right now, but eventually they’re going to have to. Whether it’s using your voice, or there’s teaching about African Americans-more teaching about any race-because a lot of people don’t know a lot about us, about African Americans. And, we’re already being judged because of our skin. So, if there was more teaching about it, a lot of people would understand more, instead of seeing us differently.”

Maddy and the other winners each received an Apple MacBook Air laptop and $1,000 for their school.

The Strong Men and Strong Women in Virginia History program honors prominent African Americans past and present who have made noteworthy and admirable contributions to the commonwealth, the nation and their professions. This year that included Virginia State Senator L. Louise Lucas.

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