Celebrating the Winners of the 2020 Stronger Than Hate Challenge

Join Discovery Education for the second of a three-part blog series highlighting the outstanding student creators who earned a winning spot in Teaching with Testimony’s 2020 Stronger Than Hate Challenge. Explore the creative ways that this year’s winners harnessed the power of self-expression to recognize and counter hate, plus learn about the inspirations that motivated each student to speak out. 

Vaishnavi Murthy, 8th Grade
RJ Grey Junior High School | Acton, MA  

Art can be a very powerful and influential way to spread ideas.” 

Vaishnavi crafted a painting that says so much in just a single image, each brushstroke building up to a profound statement about the power of love to conquer hate. This talented young artist used a universal medium to tell a universal story that speaks to the idea of compassion connecting all human beings. Like any great work of art, Vaishnavi’s entry inspires self-reflection, engaging the audience in deep and potentially challenging concepts in a way that is creative and positive. 

The Strength in Love” 

“Hate is like a fire burning everything in its path. It affects everyone – even the people spewing the hate.” 

With a potent visual metaphor that evokes the painful impact of hatred, Vaishnavi’s painting is overflowing with the compassion of its young creator, as she envisions a better world in which the endless springs of love inevitably extinguish the fruitless fires of hate 

Tamara Branitsky | Survivor’s Testimony of the Holocaust 

There is no strength in hate, but instead a lot of strength in mercy and compassion. 

Tamara Branitsky’s testimony as a Holocaust survivor provided Vaishnavi with living proof that the spark of human compassion can shine a light of hope during even the darkest moments. Through a few small but incredibly significant acts of kindness experienced during her struggles in Poland during World War II, Tamara was able to survive the most trying of circumstances and maintain a connection with the inherent goodness in people. Vaishnavi’s painting is a visual call-to-action for people everywhere to carry forward this spirit of kindness and compassion every day, in the same way that Tamara Branitsky and other courageous survivors have done for decades. 

Congratulations to Vaishnavi Murthy on a truly inspiring challenge entry, from everyone here at Teaching with Testimony and Discovery EducationThe world is your canvas, and we can’t wait to see what you create! 

Visit Teaching with Testimony to explore Tamara Branitsky’s story of survival using the interactive Testimonies archive. You can learn about the 3rd Place Winner here, and be sure to check back next week as we announce the 1st Place Winner in the 2020 Stronger Than Hate Challenge, a socially conscious student who used a multimedia approach to connect historical injustice with current events in the United States. 

* Quotes by Vaishnavi Murthy