Sophomore Wins Essay Contest


Nadia Malone

Sophomore Deanna Miree wrote an award-winning essay. Karen Valentine-Melton is Miree’s English teacher.

Sophomore Deanna Miree showed off her writing skills and it paid off.

What started out as an assignment for her English class turned out to be much more.

Her English teacher, Karen Valentine-Melton, entered Miree’s essay in the City of Southfield’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest, and Miree won first place for high school students.

“Her words were thoughtful and well planned out,” said Melton, in praise of Miree’s paper.

Miree addressed this year’s essay theme: If you were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , what would you do to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community?

With Miree’s persuasive ideas on how to deal with police brutality and strengthening the bonds between the people and law enforcement, she won a $200 savings bond, her essay being published and recognition at the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremonies.

“I think Dr. King would be proud of what I wrote, considering I only had a day to do it.” was her response when asked how she felt King would feel if he read her essay.

Here is Miree’s award-winning essay:
Lately, in our society and in the media, a topic that seems to arise often is police
brutality. The recurring events in the recent months have made the nation focus on the
division between police and community. Communities rely on police departments to
protect and serve, while the police rely on the communities’ support and cooperation.
The relationship is not always harmonious. As a society, we need to learn how to
coexist or more severe issues will arise.
If I were Martin Luther King, Jr. there are a lot of ideas that could be used to
enhance community­ officer relations. Community change happens when we all work
together; therefore, working as a team is the best option. There is a need to discuss a
structured process for people, institutions, government, and the police department.
For instance, as Martin Luther King, Jr., I would plan monthly seminars for new
and experienced officers to teach them how to be more comfortable with residents of
different racial backgrounds.  Secondly, there would be weekly community meetings
discussing the recent events, building mutual trust and respect, and developing
strategies for changing certain policing policies.
In addition, every few months, there could be fairs where police officers could talk
and socialize with the local residents, in an effort to get to know the citizens. The
officers could then need to have 30 hours of community service such as: random sit-downs with people at public places and have open conversations about diversity, or
even visit elementary schools.
Having a structured process for people, institutions, and government to work
together can lead to real change. It is truly about trust and creating a relationship that
was lacking back in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s time as well as now.