Our poetry season in DC SCORES culminated with one of the best events i’ve ever seen in my life, DC’s LARGEST POETRY SLAM!!! Over 1,200 DC SCORES  poet-athletes from 41 schools came together for two equally mesmerizing and emotional nights, the West and East Side Poetry Slams.

Given the post-election emerging tension and fear that many of us have been going through, the Poetry Slam was exactly the kind of event needed to break this tension and remind us that a better tomorrow is in the waiting. And with the power, charisma, unity and inspiration that our kids showed at the slam, i believe a better tomorrow is coming!



The first night was held at the Columbia Heights Education Campus, and in front of a standing-room-only audience, our kids (8-14 years old) expressed their feelings about things that mattered to them, their families and their communities. The audience was touched, provoked and left with tears and smiles of pride when our kids delivered their powerful messages regarding immigration (since many of our kids come from immigrant families), racism, vandalism, unity and all the other things that matter to them.


10-year old Luis R. of Brightwood Education Campus took the microphone to say “I stand up for all immigrants in the U.S.”.







Natalia L. of Brightwood Education Campus won the shine award for best individual performance through these words and later rushed hugging DC UNITED’s coach Ben Olsen over excitement of her win!





KIPP WILL Academy’s students stunned us with their passionate message, Black Lives Matter and of course won first place for the Middle School best performance.

12 year old Jaquan asked us, “What’s the point of having freedom if we aren’t really free?”  and his team joined with an equally powerful message:
“We choose our own fate
Try to make no mistake
Live for the peace.
From the past to the present
(Pause) Life can be pleasant
Live for the peace
You can live rich
And your heart will be switched but
Live for the peace
In the hopes of being suture
(Pause) We can be the future
Live for the peace “
Watch KIPP WILL’s performance here.
Marie Reed, The first place winner of the best elementary school performance, delivered the last performance of the night with these powerful words:
“Let’s rip off these labels
And say sayonara
So we can live in a world where
The color of your skin won’t matter to anyone”


The second night of the slam at H.D Woodson, the kids i coached from Payne elementary school were performing, and we were all extremely excited! Some of my kids had never performed in their lives in front of a crowd given their young ages, they were nervous, but the amazing music played by DJ RBI made it difficult for us to not dance our nervousness away! They entertained the crowd with their light and friendly performance and it was experience that will always leave a mark on them, an amazing one indeed!
Payne Elementary School team with their coaches
KIPP AIM delivered one of the most compelling performances of the night, with these words:
For our past, our broken brothers
“We are a family
Connected through blood, history, and shared struggle
Why do we fight one another?
We can choose to leave the hardships and troubles in our past
All we need is a breath that lasts
We’ve felt more pain than others
But we’ve been able to withstand it by standing together
We’ve been beaten and broken
Through slavery, segregation, mass incarceration
The wounds may heal and the scars may fade
But the pain of a thousand atrocities pulses through my veins
Beat us down, lock us up
I choose to beat the odds and lock those struggles in the past
I refuse to let this nightmare last”
Delaney B. from Kelly Miller reminded us of the intersectionality of being both black and a female in this performance , where she said ” Yes, I am Black but the fact that I’m a girl sometimes makes it even harder.”
America’s future president, 10-year old Arnye Y. from Thomas elementary school delivered a winning individual performance that said:
“They say man down, but what about woman down
They say man up, but what about woman up?”

Aiton Elementary School’s winning performance left me in tears! It was beyond powerful, it was everything we needed to hear take away our fear of where the future of these kids will be, for these kids are strong, they are dedicated, they are aware and they embody the principles of Ubuntu!

Aiton bears came in black  “Straight Outta Aiton” T-shirts with paper chaining their hands, and delivered a powerful message of black history, these kids are continuing on the paths of heroes like Tubman, Rosa, Douglass, Martin and Malcolm and would make them proud, imagine that at 8-9-10 years old they wrote and performed their original piece “Breaking the chains”  (Click on the link for this AMAZING performance)
“I’ve been craving dreams to wake up without being assaulted
To live in a place where skin won’t define any human
Where people won’t gamble with our lives
To not see crying mothers burying their child”
Raising their paper chained fists in the air and ripping the chains away, they left us with a remarkable message:
“Choose to live a life that matters
Choose this day to make your life matter
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Our lives matter “
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