Zemen Marrugi with other DTWT Alumni with rapper, actor, and poet Common, the 2015 National DTWT Recognition Ceremony Guest Speaker.

Do the Write Thing

Zemen Marrugi is the chairperson of the "Do The Write Thing" in Detroit, Michigan.  The program is an initiative of the National Campaign to Stop Violence (NCSV).  The Do the Write Thing Challenge gives middle school students an opportunity to examine the impact of youth violence on their lives in classroom discussions and in written form by communicating what they think should be done to change our culture of violence.  By encouraging students to make personal commitments to do something about the problem, the program ultimately seeks to empower them to break the cycles of violence in their homes, schools and neighborhoods.


In 1996, Zemen was an eighth grader at Nolan Middle School in Detroit, Michigan when she selected as a Do the Write Thing National Ambassador.  Her writing about violence gave Zemen the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. and be published at the Library of Congress.  As a DTWT National Ambassador, Zemen became committed to a life of non-violence and of being a positive example to her family, peers and neighborhood.  She ultimately ended up being the first person in her family to graduate from high school and attend college.  When she became a teacher, Zemen reconnected with DTWT, the organization that gave her so much when she was a middle schooler.  “I believed in the program and I wanted my own students to participate in the Do the Write Thing essay contest because I understand how powerful it is to allow young people to speak about the violence in the world around them,” Zemen said of the DTWT program.  As a classroom teacher, two of Zemen’s own students were recognized as Do the Write Thing National Ambassadors: Tiana Henry in 2013 and Gary McKay in 2014. In 2015, Zemen became the Chair of the Do the Write Thing Detroit and said,  “I am so honored to continue the legacy of the Do the Write Thing program in Detroit.”

Zemen Marrugi with two Harlem Globetrottters.  The Harlem Globetrotters are great supporters of Do the Write Thing.

Zemen with her fellow 1996 DTWT National Ambassadors at the National Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. 

Do the Write Thing Detroit Chair with the 2014 DTWT National Ambassadors, Tiana Henry and Christopher Harris, standing in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Educator, Writer


The Do the Write Thing 20th Anniversary video.