Human Rights Speaks: A Creative Arts Contest

Human Rights Speaks: A Creative Arts Contest flyer

Original poster artwork by Morgan Overton



The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (PghCHR) will once again be holding its annual Human Rights Speaks creative arts contest for youth. We are inviting all youth ages/grades 6-12th who live in or go to school in the City of Pittsburgh to come up with their own, original answer to the following question:

The New Pittsburgh Courier, originally published as the Pittsburgh Courier, is an award-winning newspaper that was once the “most widely circulated black newspaper” in the U.S. Prominent black and African American journalists and intellectuals have contributed their stories to the courier. Throughout its history, the Courier has covered and spoken out against the following human rights issues affecting black and African American people: being forced to live in terrible conditions; lack of health care; racist portrayals in the media; segregation in sports; and the lack of equal rights back in the U.S. for people who risked their lives fighting in World War II. Today, there are still many human rights stories to be told. Question: What human rights story do you want to tell?

There are two age groups: 6th-8th and 9th-12th. There are three categories: writing, digital art, and physical art. Winners in each age group and category will get a monetary prize in the form of a gift card or cash equivalent ($250 for 1st place winners; $50 for 2nd place winners), as well as non-monetary prizes, such as tickets to local events and venues, certificate, trophy, invitation to a recognition ceremony, and having their work featured on PghCHR’s website and social media. Additionally, our media sponsor WQED will provide media coverage of the contest and winners will have a chance to have their work featured in the program of the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit..

PghCHR encourages creativity and self-expression. Additionally, entries must be the original work of the person entering the contest. Each contestant may submit only one entry and may choose from one of the three categories:

A. Writing. For example, a poem, an essay, or fiction or non-fiction short-story. Entries may not be more than 1,000 words.

B. Physical or Tactile Art. For example, a painting, sculpture, or fashion. Entries may include a short, written explanation of the entry of no more than 50 words on a separate document or paper.

C. Digital Art. For example, a music/song recording, a music video, short film, photograph, or graphic design. Entries may not be more than 5 minutes long.


Please complete this entry form when submitting your entry and provide the necessary information, including name, grade, school, the type of entry (Writing, Physical Art, or Digital Art), and the title of the entry.

Contestants can begin submitting their entries on October 1st, 2021, and all entries are due by the close of business (5:00 PM) on November 2, 2021. Entries should be submitted in one of the following ways:

  1. For all entries, email the file or link for the work to with the subject line “Human Rights Speaks Submission.” Include all of the entry information in the email or an attached document. 
  2. For physical or tangible art entries, you can email a digital picture, photograph or short video of the entry, along with the short description.
    • The short description may be in an attached document.
    • The video should be no more than 20 seconds long.
    • If you are not able to email your entry, you can drop off your entry during office hours, 9am-5pm, M-F, at the City-County Buildiing, 414 Grant St., Suite 908, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219. If you cannot make it during normal office hours to drop of your entry, please call 412-255-2600 or 412-426-5449 to see if other arrangements can be made.


Printable Contest Materials

Contest Entry Form     Full Contest Details       Poster to Share

Poster to Share - Spanish

Please Note:

By submitting an entry to the contest, you are giving the Commission permission to publish your entry. You will still own the work, and the Commission will credit you for creating it. Winners will be compensated per the prize notice listed above.

The Human Rights Speaks Creative Arts Contest is a safe space for Pittsburgh’s youth to speak about human rights, civil rights, justice, equality, and equity, and aims to expand awareness of the existence and work of the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.


To request an accommodation, interpreter, or translated materials, please contact us by phone at 412-436-9619 or 412-426-5449, or by email at

Special thanks to our Sponsors: