Student contest aims to promote kindness and inclusivity — especially during the pandemic

The Orange County Human Relations Commission is encouraging students to help create inspiring campaigns to curb hateful vibes and wrongful bias during the pandemic.

Seven local middle and high school students will earn $5,000 to put toward anti-hate initiatives at their schools as part of the “To Know Better” multimedia campaign and contest, which kicked off recently. The top submissions will be publicized throughout the county and beyond, and, as organizers note, it’s also a good look for college and internship applications.

To Know Better contest flierParticipating teams — two to six students from the same school are recommended — should each submit one project encouraging young people to practice acceptance and inclusivity, promote social distancing, and wear a mask to protect others from COVID-19.

Entries can be anything from a quick social media video or graphic to a poem, song or custom art piece. But each team must submit just one video or photo file.

All entry forms and materials are due no later than Nov. 23 at 11:59 p.m.

The OC Human Relations Commission, which co-hosted a pair of forums with OCDE in January to address hate-motivated incidents, recently released its 2019 Hate Crime Report documenting an alarming five-year rise in hate crime across Orange County. The report comes amid a national conversation and push for racial equity.

According to the contest website, anxiety during the pandemic has fueled wrongful bias, racism and discrimination in Orange County and across the country. “Some individuals, especially those with Asian backgrounds (due to the virus’ origins in China), have been targeted for discrimination and bias as tensions continue to rise.”

There’s no limit on how many teams can come from a single school, but each team must include only students from that school. Campuses that submit at least one completed entry will be eligible to receive a $500 reimbursement.

For more details and to access the online entry form, visit