The Power of Poetry: Inspiring Acceptance and Change
January 14, 2022
January 17 marks Martin Luther King Jr. day. A day spent honoring a prominent civil rights activist that changed the way people view racial superiority and discrimination. Individuals celebrate and honor Martin Luther King Jr. in different ways, including sharing their own voices through the power of poetry.
The MLK JR. Student Poetry Contest allows students in grade levels from kindergarten to 12th grade to submit original poems relating to different writing prompts. Selected winners will read their poetry aloud at the MLK tribute event taking place on January 17, 2022 at the Charles F. Dodge Center. At Pembroke Pines Charter High School, a handful of students across grade levels will be participating in the city-wide contest. The pieces of poetry they have created are meaningful and significant to each writer individually.
Sophomore Aakash Suresh expressed his passion for reading and writing explaining how it motivated him to participate in the event. “…I loved reading and writing poetry in general and having a contest to showcase my love for poetry was especially enticing to me…” Moreover, when discussing the act of tributing Martin Luther King Jr. through poetry, Aakash exemplified empowerment by saying, “[i]t serves as a tribute as it encompasses the compassion and non-violence MLK showed throughout his life. More than that, it truly [represents] the theme that MLK used to live through the limited amount of words I had.”
Senior Stella Dioguardi entered the contest by way of NEHS. “…I am a part of NEHS, therefore we had the opportunity to participate in creating a poem for MLK.” Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. have inspired Stella, further motivating her to use her own voice as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and as an inspiring voice for others. “…I look up to leaders like MLK and felt strong adjectives could have a huge impact just like he did.” Stella feels that her writing can have a large impact on the community through representing and promoting acceptance and change, stating, “I honestly think it shares a different perspective and can impact others in the community the way it impacted me.”
NEHS sponsor, Ms. Sarah Phelps expressed her own feelings toward the contest saying, “I think it’s fantastic that the city is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. and all that he continues to represent while also supporting the literary arts and welcoming our students’ voices.” Similarly, Junior Meakayla Ambroise feels that poetry has the power to inflict change and serve as a tribute. “…I am an African American, I obviously appreciate Martin Luther King. And I love to write free verse poetry so I thought this contest was a great way to celebrate MLK and what he’s done.” Martin Luther King Jr. represents the change necessary to grow in a world. Through poetry and literature, his voice is carried on and continues to serve as an inspiration.
All three students demonstrate empowerment and serve as an inspiration by way of poetry. Their participation in the contest stems deeper than just winning a prize. It is their desire to motivate others to enact change that shows their true humility.
For Stella, her philosophy for writing is simple: “I say, write what is in your mind and always be your true self.” As for Aakash, his positive outlook embodies that of someone who just truly enjoys the process of writing, “…[w]hether I win or not, writing the poem was a very interesting experience for me!” Junior Meakayla Ambroise feels that the key to writing poetry is to let your emotions out and just be you, “[m]y advice is to let your heart out. I find my best poems are what I feel deep inside and when I hold nothing back. If you hide your true feelings, how can you express your true self? ” Regardless of the way each writer feels about the meaning behind their poems, each poem lights up a passage to change.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “[o]ur lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Here marks the future poets of the society, representing change and inspiration.