CBC Spouses Essay Contest

This year, CBCF invites qualified African-American junior and senior high school students from the districts of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Members to participate in the Essay Contest and Issue Forum. Students are presented with a topic that embodies some of our communities’ most pressing issues and are asked to write an essay to defend their research, analyses and opinion. Submissions are judged by a special committee of CBC Spouses. First place winner will receive $1,500; second place will receive $1,000, and third place will receive $750. Winners and their families are also invited to Washington, DC in September to accept their award and attend a panel discussion on the topic during the CBCF 49th Annual Legislative Conference


  • Essay contest is open to high school juniors and seniors (grades 11 and 12) at time of submission of essay.
  • Essay contestants must reside or attend school in a district represented by a Congressional Black Caucus Member.
  • Participants can enter their home and school zip code at www.house.gov to verify their Congressional representation.
  • Contestants should identify as Black or African-American.

General Rules

  • All essays must be submitted online. Written essays will not be accepted by US mail, fax or email.
  • The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) will have the right to publish, in full or in part, or otherwise duplicate any essay entered in the contest, along with the author’s name, without payment to the author.
  • All entries* must* be received by* Friday, April 26, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST*.
  • Winners and runners-up will be notified on or before Friday, June 14, 2019.

Written Essay Guidelines

  • Include your essay title and first and last name in the header of your essay.
  • Contestants must compose an original written essay with limited guidance from adults and teachers.
  • Essays must by double-spaced.
  • Essays should be no less than 750 words and no more than 1000 words with evidence that supports their findings and opinions.
  • Essays will be judged on alignment with contest theme, focus, the inclusion of well-supported ideas, organization and format, language/style, and grammar.

Essay Prompt

Michigan State University recently published a study that that ranks nations by empathy puts the United States at No. 7, behind countries ranging from Peru to Korea to Saudi Arabia.

Researchers analyzed the data from an online survey on empathy completed by more than 104,000 people from around the world. The survey measured people’s compassion for others and their tendency to imagine others’ point of view and notes that the psychological states of Americans have been changing in recent decades – leading to a larger focus on the individual and less on others.

Essay Question
Where is empathy lacking in today’s society? Why do you think so and should it change?

Varies ($500 - $1,500)