HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is launching is second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Challenge.

The Democrat is urging elementary, middle and high school students across the state to honor the late civil rights leader by submitting essays reflecting on King’s dream and their own aspirations.

Murphy says he hopes the essay challenge will encourage young people all over Connecticut to “commit to making Dr. King’s dream for equality” a reality. He says “racism, homophobia and prejudice are tragically alive and well in America today.”

January 10 is the deadline for submissions. Essays should be no longer than 500 words for high school, 300 words for middle school and 100-to-200 words for elementary school students. They should be submitted online.

Selected essays will be displayed in Murphy’s Washington office.