*The National Bar Association (NBA) is accepting applications for the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition.

More than $25,000 in scholarships will be awarded to high school juniors and seniors who place in the regional and national competitions. All students must submit an essay about the “Occupy Movement” by March 31, 2012 to compete. MetLife is proud to be the Platinum sponsor of the program for the third consecutive year.

“This annual competition provides an opportunity to recognize excellence among America’s youth and encourage future leaders in law and other professional fields,” said Demetris Cheatham, executive director of the NBA. “We commend MetLife for continuing its commitment to educating our youth and helping families financially.”

High school juniors and seniors from California are invited to submit an essay for the 2012 competition. In no more than 1,000 words, students should address the following issue: Consider how the Occupy Movement, an international protest movement primarily directed against social and economic inequality, compares with the Civil Rights Movement and the activities of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. How would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. address either: 1) the tenants of the tent cities or 2) the opponents of the Occupy Movement?

Kimberly Maima

Last year's winner, Kimberly Maima

To provide students with an opportunity to ask questions about the competition and essay topic, the NBA will host MLK Mondays, a live Facebook and Twitter event held every Monday in March between 6pm and 8pm EST. Students interested in participating in the competition and attending MLK Mondays must first register at http://www.nationalbar.org/MLKcompetition.

Top winners from the local competitions will advance to the regional contest. The first place winner of the regional competition will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a three-day, two-night trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for the national competition held in conjunction with the NBA’s 87th Annual Convention and Exhibits. Airfare and hotel costs will be covered for the student and one adult chaperone. More than $10,000 in scholarships will be awarded to winners of the national competition. All national prizes are one-time scholarships.

Sponsored by the National Bar Association and supported by the National Bar Institute, the competition is an annual advocacy program designed to motivate students of color to excel in education. The contest encourages high school juniors and seniors to express their views on a pre-selected topic, judges the students on their ability to communicate orally and in writing, while allowing them to sharpen their skills in public speaking.

Laurel Daring, assistant vice president of Diverse Markets at MetLife notes, “Partnering with the NBA is another way for MetLife to connect with the community and provide information to help families build financial security.”

Important Dates 

March 31, 2012: Essay deadline

April 14, 2012: Regional competition in Emeryville, CA

July 17, 2012: National competition in Las Vegas

For more information on the competition visit www.nationalbar.org/mlkcompetition as some regions have earlier submission deadlines.

About The NBA

Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of minority attorneys and judges. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org.

About MetLife

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.