Since 1958, when President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation declaring it a time to mark and strengthen the heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law in America, Law Day has been celebrated in the United States each year on or around May 1.

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Kaiya Brown’s artwork won first place in the Polk County Bar Association’s Law Day competition.

As part of the day, the Polk County Bar Association provides students in the area a chance to share and be recognized for their creativity around a Law Day theme through visual arts, music, essays or poetry.

This year’s theme was Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change. As the Bar Association noted: “The Constitution is a dynamic document, as it not only outlines a blueprint for government, but also delegates power, articulates rights, and offers mechanisms for change. It is neither perfect, nor exhaustive, as our nation’s history makes clear. Legislation, court rulings, amendments, lawyers, and ‘we the people’ have built upon those original words across generations to attempt to make the “more perfect Union” more real.

Three DMPS students were all honored at this year’s Law Day celebration, held at the Iowa Judicial Building, for their entries in this year’s Law Day Celebration:

  • Kaiya Brown, Roosevelt High School – 1st Place, Visual Arts
  • Lily Smith, Roosevelt High School – 3rd Place, Visual Arts
  • Katie Adoobe, Hoover High School – 3rd Place, Poetry
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Lily Smith’s work of art earned third place in the Polk County Bar Association’s Law Day competition.

In addition, Sarah Ha of Central Campus was recognized with the Teacher Participation Award for the number of students submitting entries this year. The three award-winning DMPS students are all enrolled in the Urban Leadership program, overseen by Ha at Central Campus.

Kaiya Brown’s award-winning work looks at the women’s arm of the Ku Klux Klan, such as the overlap between the racist organization and the early suffrage movement as well as their efforts to continue school segregation. In her entry, Kaiya noted that it is important to “[t]ell the stories of all women, even the racist ones.”

Lily Smith’s mixed-media work features a quote from John F. Kennedy – “Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life” – along with hands of different colors reaching out for the U.S. flag. Lily wrote in entering her work that it was in response to the current attitudes around immigration and nationalism, and that “[a]nti-immigration blocks the positive perspective of immigration, especially disregarding the historical fact that America began as a country of immigrants.

Finally, Katie Adoobe’s poem “America’s Love Story” looks at the immigrant experience and stereotypes. Her poem can be read below (click to enlarge).

HS Poetry Katie Adoobe

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