All Maryland middle school students are invited to enter a statewide writing contest focusing on the themes of peace and social justice.

The contest, which is sponsored by Anne Arundel Peace Action, the Maryland Peace Action Education Fund, the Benjamin Peace Foundation, and the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Annapolis Friends Meeting, is open to all 7th and 8th grade students enrolled in public or private schools in Maryland and to homeschooled students corresponding to the same grade levels. This is the 25th year the contest has been conducted.

Four cash prizes will be awarded: $500 for first place, $300 for second place,  $200 for third place, and $100 for fourth place. The winners will be honored at a special ceremony, although attendance is not required to receive an award.

To enter, students must submit an entry of up to 1,200 words on this topic:

It is arguable that the most important development in the early 21st century has been the emergence of social media. There can be little question that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter (now “X”), Instagram, Snapchat, and many others have revolutionized the avenues with which citizens can communicate with one another. However, these vehicles have been criticized for interfering with privacy, giving voice to extremists, and causing emotional harm. What role has social media played in your life? Do you think that it has been a mostly positive or negative force—and why? Has social media contributed to or obstructed world peace?

Entries  must be accompanied by a separate cover sheet, including the student’s name, address and phone number or e-mail address; school’s name, address and phone number; and the name of the teacher sponsor if applicable.

Entries and accompanying materials must be postmarked no later than May 15, 2024, and mailed to: Fred B. Benjamin Peace Writing Contest, 310 Riverview Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403-3328.

Anne Arundel Peace Action and the Maryland Peace Action Education Fund are affiliated with Peace Action, the country’s largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization with approximately 100,000 members nationwide.

For more information, call 410-263-7409 or e-mail

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