Social justice movements in the East Africa are much different from the movements we have here in America, and inherently ingrained in these movements are ethics, a term which is both intimidating and liberating, and complex to its very core.
Ethical dilemmas are sometimes thought of as complicated situations with simple answers.
The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity conducts an annual essay contest for undergraduate full-time Juniors or Seniors at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States.
Students may write about any topic they wish, as long as their essay explores the theme of ethics.
The following essay, The Ethics of Transcendence, by Alexandra Stewart, was awarded First Prize in the 2015 Contest.
Definitional Essay - Elie Wiesel Prize In Ethics Essay 2012
Alexandra, an International Studies major from Edmond, OK, is a member of the Class of 2015 at University of New Mexico.The most we noticed were her quiet spells, which I myself had, and so I chalked up these to her stress and introversion.Nothing ever seemed violent or sinister, and nothing seemed out of place.It was in the midst of thick make-up and flying drumsticks on stage floors that we came together and discussed the very things that made us human.I remember the moment I met her: she was incredibly beautiful and I would say that was of no consequence, but in this situation it stood out because of her evident insecurities.The bite of food I had taken turned sour in my mouth and to this day I remember the way my blood stopped, the halting movement of my body in a cheap cafeteria booth.The white noise of the lunchroom ceased and for once in my life, I had nothing to say.In her essay she discusses a personal encounter with familial sexual violence as a teenager.This experience changed her perceptions of cross-cultural interactions, leading her to believe that ethics must transcend cultural traditions.I felt old, tired, and weak, but I did not know that I would find myself bearing an ugly secret that required all of my strength.Luckily, our strengths become evident in the moments when we need them the most.