Programs

Ages 12 to 14 Winners

Random Acts of Poetry 2017

1st Place
Black is Beautiful 

How can I have an opportunity to succeed at life
when the melanin in my skin, eyes, and hair
is the first thing that people look at before accepting me in this culture.
This white culture.
Where the lighter you are,
the better shot you have at being triumphant.
Where you are deemed perfect if you are born within wealth
and have a simple yellow brick road leading you along every step and struggle.
In this white culture and very white America.
Let me tell you that being black is worthy,
because even though we don’t get the respect we deserve,
we fight.
Our young black boys
are expected to be in jail before the age of 21.
Our young black ladies
that momma raised well in the house,
are only known to be pregnant before marriage.
Everyone puts the name
deadbeat on all the fathers in the black community
because they “obviously” can’t take care of their kids.
Most people are taught to see that black is equal to violence.
But I don’t care that our women are feisty
and can defend themselves.
I don’t care that our men know when to defend what’s theirs.
But I think that being black is worthy
because the media does NOT focus itself on our successes
but waste their last breath on our fails.
Little do you hear about the young boy that is a medical doctor
and bought a house for his mom
or the young lady that has started her own business
and is doing as much as she can to give back.
Even though you might not hear about it,
we know about it.
We know that OUR culture has its benefits
because being black is worthy.
But there is such a thing as silent racism.
Words are not spoken,
but there is a quiet battle,
no sound… silence
between each and every person in this diverse congregation,
we are all fighting for respect,
but our words that we put out blatantly have nothing to say.
But I still believe that being black is worthy.
Although we might put pressure within
our own groups to forget where we come from
we must remember the fight that our ancestors have fought.
They set the foundation for us to build on top of.  
And, I will not accept for us
to sit in schools
and have teachers expect us to be bad kids.
I will not accept for us
to walk through the store
and be followed by an employee
because we’re expected to steal.
I will not accept for us
to be roughed up by higher authority
because we are expected to be a threat.
I will not, I will not, I will not.
But I cannot be the only one.
We must stay together.
We cannot become more racist in our own groups
and discriminate which shade of melanin is better.
Black itself is beautiful.
The battle for equality for all men has been going on for many years,
but we can’t give up now.
The place where we live is like a child, continuously learning.
If you teach a child bad habits
you cannot erase it from his memory,
you must only help him to learn better than that.
We must teach each other to learn better than what we already know.
At that instant the battle will secede,
take its bow and rest.
In the meantime,
we must take charge and make it be known that
being black is oh so worthy.

Ornella S.

2nd Place
Walls 

Years ago I created
A place that always protected
While it kept me safe
From evil enemies and empires striking easily
It also hurt.
Walls go up, I retreat
From never winning, from getting beat.
From stress clouding my head
From people with mean words that have to be said.
I retreat.
From friends wanting to help me,
From people as supporting as you can be,
I retreat.
But I don’t have to anymore
I’m tearing down the wall, I’m opening the door.
I’m living in a world with more
More friends, more family,
More support all around me.
A world with more
Less enemies, less stress,
Less people trying to be the best.
A world with less,
Now, I think about it.
Is it just me or is it the world?
I guess that I’ve changed, too.
I used to be tiny,
I used to be boisterous,
I used to be bubbly bursting with pride
Then I became taciturn, discovered my quieter side.
Now I’m evolving
Changing like the world
Into a selfless, kind pleasant girl
My quiet side still shows, but so does my young side.
My confidence has risen and the walls have died.

Ella H.

3rd Place
Fear

Fear.
What you left me with.
The scars on my heart from your pushing and pulling.
The barren hole you left in my soul.

   I’m left with the memories of you and me.
   But it was never you and me
   It was only you—
   You and your sly ways,
   You and your evil tricks,
   -But-
   The memories will never fade away.
   The scars of your lies won’t wash away.
   The tears you collected to laugh at my pain.
   My scars.

   -You-
   Dancing with glee because you left me with a blink of an eye.
   Not even a thought about me in your mind.
   The down pour of your sorrow hitting my shoulders as it scrapes the cage I built to protect myself from you
   -You-
   You left me with the one thing that will change my life for good,
   Fear

   You let me die from the inside out.
   -You-
   You let me sit in the shadows as you bask in the sunlight.
   -You-
   It’s funny how everything begins with you and ends with you.
   You left me in the storm and went to the eye.
   And what you left me behind with
   Fear

   But now my life will only begin with me and end with me,
   And never will I ever let it end with you.
   -Me-
   My unsuspecting heart I let you take care of.
   -Me-
   I was naïve to believe that you really loved me.
   -Me-
   The only thing that is important now
   And I’m trying to get over what you caused.
   Fear.

Fear to ever be so empty and worthless.
Fear that I will forever and always be powerless.
Fear that you will march back and do it again.
Fear that I will lose my iron grip and set fire to my world.
But most importantly,
-Fear-
That one day I’ll learn to pick up the pieces and fly away.
Forgiving you for destroying me and leaving me with the biggest wound that will never heal,
Fear

Awa T.

View Honorable Mentions Here

Angela B.                             My Own World
Ashley B.                             Broken 
Zoe C.                                 Natural Battles 
Lillian R. C.                         The Earth's Tale 
Ayden H.                            The Girl in the Closet 
Mackenzie K.                      Birth. Happiness. Changing. 
Meghna L.                          Tragedy
Ayla G.                               Untitled
Isabelle R.                          Dreaming
Maya W.                             Holding Secrets  
Lizzie S.                             Closet Catastrophe