Religious Minorities

Attention, Students: Raise Your Voice Through AU’s Student Contest!

  Alicia Johnson

To be an advocate for church-state separation is to believe that things can get better. It can be so easy to focus on the obstacles and the opponents we face – and there are a lot of them. But it’s important to not just know what we’re fighting against, but what we’re fighting for. If we build the world we want, a world where freedom without favor and equality without exception is realized, what would that look, sound and feel like?

For this year’s student contest, which Americans United launched yesterday and is now accepting applications, we’re inviting high school and college students to tell us: What’s your vision for church-state separation?

An Expanded Student Contest

Those of you who have been following AU for many years may know that we’ve been running an annual student essay contest for high school juniors and seniors for seven years. But for this (eighth) year, we’re expanding the contest to not only include high schoolers in every grade, but also college students – and we’re expanding submissions to include both essays and videos. With more categories – and more prizes – we’ll  be able to welcome even more young people to join the movement for church-state separation.

For the 2023 Student Contest, students are invited in an essay or video to respond to the following prompt: What is your vision for church-state separation? What would happen if we secured separation of church and state in the United States, and all people were able to live as themselves and believe as they choose?

How To Enter

The contest is open to high school students and undergraduate students attending any 2- or 4-year college or university including trade and technical schools. Students must live in the United States including the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. Employees and board members of Americans United, and members of their families, are not eligible to participate. Submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time, on Monday, May 8.

The young people who produce the winning essays and videos, with separate prize categories for high school and college students, will receive between $500-$1,500. Winners also have the chance to be published in AU’s magazine and online.

Visit to learn more about the prizes and how to enter.

Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

Act Now