2024 Winners

1st Place Winner

"I am autistic. I am not limited by my diagnosis. Instead, I am freed! I am free to see my struggles in others—empathy. I am free to see my accommodations as potential helps—hope. I am free to see abilities in myself instead of inabilities—perspective. I am free to be childlike, to serve others, and to embrace my autism. I am free!

Alex F.
Lansing, MI

Read Alex's Essay

2nd Place Winner

"Thank You so much for the opportunity to share with you my story of advocacy and helping others. I m happy to have learned Leadership skills to assist me in the Future."

Laura D.
Lansing, MI

Read Laura's Essay

3rd Place Winner

"I am so grateful to God having reached another milestone in my life. I struggled with depression and schizophrenia most of my adult life. I went through a rough time, but I am blessed to say that I pulled through it by the grace of God and the right treatment. I don’t let my age and illness stop me from doing what I have always wanted to do in life. That is helping others and advocating for mental health."

Betty R.
Southfield, MI

Read Betty's Essay

Ernie Reynolds Essay Contest 2024

Disability Rights Michigan (DRM) is proud to, once again, hold our annual essay contest in honor of an outstanding disability rights advocate, Ernie Reynolds, who passed away in 2012.

We are looking for motivating stories about people with disabilities who have successfully overcome barriers and achieved success while advocating for themselves or others.

First Prize: $300
Second Prize: $200
Third Prize: $100

Entry deadline:
Friday, January 12, 2024

Submissions will be judged on:

  • Authenticity
  • Content and appeal of the advocacy story
  • Impact the story has had on the life of the individual or the lives of other people who have disabilities
  • Impact the story has had on the focus areas within DRM

1. Must be a resident of Michigan.
2. The limit is 500 words or less.
3. Submissions do not have to be typed, but they need to be legible.
4. There is no age limit to the contest.

SUBMISSIONS (3 ways to submit entries):

1. E-mail:

2. Fax:

3. Mail:
DRM Essay Contest
4095 Legacy Parkway
Lansing, MI 48911-4263

*Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and email address on all entries.


How Can We Help?
Contact Us Anytime

We want to hear from you! Whether you're looking for advocacy, have a question, or just want to connect, please reach out.


Contact Us