Adam Whitney, an 11-year-old Phillips Street resident and sixth grader at the Eliot K-8 Innovation Public School in the North End, recently received citywide recognition for his award-winning essay on Martin Luther King Jr.
His essay, entitled “Dr. King and Affordable Housing: A Quest for Economic Justice in Boston,” earned first-place in the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Essay and Poetry Competition for the Boston Public Schools Grades 6-8 citywide before placing third overall in the King Boston Essay Contest on Economic Justice, a citywide competition for Grades 6 through 12 that includes students from all Boston Public Schools, charters schools and parochial schools.
For the King Boston contest, Adam received his award, along with $250 prize money, during a ceremony on Marin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with Marie St. Fleur, former state representative and current executive director of King Boston, and Andrea Campbell, president of the City Council, on hand as presenters.
King Boston is a privately funded non-profit that works closely with the city to create a new memorial and programs honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, as well as their time and work together in Boston.
When asked why he decided to enter the essay contest, Adam said, “I really admire Dr. King, and I wanted to write about how he would really care that poor people can’t find warm, affordable places to live, especially when it really cold out. I think that it is important that people know that.”
His mother, Marcy Axelrad Whitney, said she is “very proud that my son Adam entered the essay contest – his first one – especially on such an important topic.” Meanwhile, Rob Whitney who serves as president of the Beacon Hill Civic Association board of directors, which has been a strong advocate for more affordable housing, said he is “doubly proud that Adam entered the Dr. King essay contest and wrote about such an important topic as housing and economic justice. His [achievement] is something he will always remember and his mother and I couldn’t be more pleased for him.”