Human Rights Commission announces art, essay winners

Republic file photo Columbus City Hall.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The Columbus Human Rights Commission has announced the student winners of the 2024 J. Irwin Miller Art and Benjamin M. King Essay Contests. The winners will be honored at the commission’s Annual Dinner Meeting on June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at The Commons, 300 Washington St.

The theme for this year’s art and essay contests was “Living Your Authentic Life.” The following students will be recognized on June 27:
J. Irwin Miller Art Contest:
Elementary School Division:
No entries, no winner
Middle School Division:
Macey Rees, Northside Middle School
High School Division:
Madyson Hall, East High School
Benjamin M. King Essay Contest:
Elementary School Division:
BriAnna LaRance, Mt. Healthy Elementary
Middle School Division:
Trinity Wills, Central Middle School
High School Division:
Maricela Stinson, East High School
Among the 140 entries received were newcomer entries representing the home-schooled environment and Mt. Healthy Elementary located in southeastern Bartholomew County. The
contest is open to all Bartholomew County students in grades 5 through 12. Twenty-six (26) community volunteers gathered on May 15 at City Hall to vote on the entries. Entries were
anonymized prior to voting. Among the volunteers were Mayor Mary Ferdon, Council member Grace Kestler, city staff from several departments, and Commissioners Champlin, Roggow, and Souza. Aida Ramírez, commission director, appreciates the support saying, “supportive community volunteers and educators play an active role in our mission to educate. They help us advance inclusion through the sharing of lived experiences, listening to understand, practicing empathy, and creating safe spaces rooted in the shared belief of belonging.”
The annual meeting will feature keynote speaker, Amy Nelson, director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. Additionally, special honors will be given to 2024 Laws Award winners Howard “Bud” Herron and Rev. Dr. Felipe Martínez.

Admission to the dinner is by advance ticket purchase. Tickets are $30.00 per person and available online at, by calling 812-376-2532, or in person at the Human Rights Commission office located in City Hall at 123 Washington St. The Commons is wheelchair accessible. For other accommodations or for financial assistance in purchasing tickets, please contact Commission staff in advance.