9-year-old Grace Morrison of Petersburg entered this poster into Alaska’s “Justice for All” art contest.

A Petersburg third grader was recognized Tuesday at the Rae C. Stedman Elementary school for her entry in a statewide poster contest. The art contest asked kids “What does justice mean to me?” KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:
Kindergarten through 4th grade students from all over the state entered the “Justice for All” poster contest. Petersburg third grader, Grace Morrison, took third place.

For her poster, she drew a picture of a town with a tall gray stone wall dividing it across the page. On one side of the wall is a neighborhood with colorful big houses and happy people. On the other side are smaller houses drawn in black and white.

Grace wrote a little essay to go with the poster.

“My essay talks about the two different neighborhoods,” Morrison said. “And how one side–the just black and white side–is the people who are treated not as fairly as the people on the colored side.”

Basically, white privilege.

“Where did you learn about that idea?” I asked her.

“Well, I was just reading the paper and I kind of talked to my mom and asked her for a little help and then I put it together,” she said.

“You talked to your mom about how some people are treated fairly and some people aren’t?” I asked.

“Yeah, and how some places they make black people go to different restrooms and drink out of different water fountains than white people,” she said.

There’s one very important figure in the picture—a girl standing in the privileged neighborhood opening a door to the wall. That’s Grace herself.

“[She’s] inviting others to come into her neighborhood,” said Desiree Burrell, the Magistrate Judge at the Petersburg Courthouse. “She believes that can start with her. To me that’s pretty moving and pretty amazing for a young lady such as herself.”

Magistrate Judge Desiree Burrell and 9-year-old Grace Morrison pose with Morrison’s poster and award May 29, 2018. (Photo by Angela Denning)

For Grace’s third place finish she received a check for $100.

The annual art contest is sponsored by the Alaska Bar Association’s education committee, the Alaska Supreme Court’s Access to Civil Justice Committee, and the Alaska Supreme Court’s Fairness, Diversity and Equality Committee.

Grace says she does have an image of what she sees as a perfect world.

“Brightly colored houses and pretty trees and children playing with other people that have different skin color than them but all be being treated fairly,” she said.

Grace Morrison’s poster will be displayed at the Petersburg Courthouse.