The prize: Tickets to a conference on creative citizenship run by this guys former speechwriter and policy adviser.
  • Anthony Correia /
  • The prize: Tickets to a conference on creative citizenship run by this guy's former speechwriter and policy adviser.
This has been bumped up again because the deadline's in 10 minutes. Get on it!

The Contest

In 250 words or less, describe a civic problem in your neighborhood or in Seattle. A crappy-looking empty lot? Neighbors don't know each other? Not enough young women in local elected office? Want more small businesses in walking distance?

Then describe a way that you, on your own or in a group, could address that problem—without waiting for someone else to jumpstart the process.

We'll pick five winning essays, publish them, and give each winner a free registration to the Guiding Lights Weekend conference on creative citizenship, at Seattle Center March 8-10. Registrations usually go for $175 (and there are discounts for students, etc.)—but if yours is one of the winning ideas, your registration is free! Essays are due by 5 pm on Tuesday, February 28. Send your essay to us here.

The Conference

The year's lineup features Van Jones, the environmental advocate, civil rights activist, and founder of Rebuild the Dream, among other projects; Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who wrote about his life as an "undocumented immigrant" in the New York Times Magazine and went on to found; Annie Leonard, creator of The Story of Stuff; and a bunch of other activists and thinkers on the left and right. Guiding Lights Weekend founder Eric Liu—author and former Clinton speechwriter and policy adviser—will also be speaking. Find conference details and a full schedule here.

Where to Send Your Essay

Once again, right here. By 5:00 pm on February 28. Get cracking! 250 words is roughly one paragraph.