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2017-18 MLK Essay/Poetry/Spoken Word Winners

1st Place Middle School

Hilde Medovich
8th Grade
MLK Magnet School

Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy,

The legacy that has continually been stomped upon by naïve and power-hungry people,

The legacy we so desperately need, now more than ever,

The legacy that fought against the oppressive and malignant powers of the so-called authority,

The powers that still remain sovereign today,

The lasting remnant of mistreatment of those who are different,

The biting sting of oppression as it seeps into the mouths of the trusted,

The epidemic of hatred raining so torrentially down on the less fortunate,

The audible cries of the helpless, fighting for our attention, just to be blatantly ignored,

The belligerent actions were taken out by the powerful, to be overlooked without a second thought,

The presence of unrestrained and rampant harassment,

The hopefulness of the belittled,

And the ruthless, crushing any bit of ambition,

The alleged change that never was,

The cruel world that supposedly got better,


Maybe one day the hopeful will out rule the ruthless,

Maybe one day the legacy will truly live on.


2nd Place Middle School

Rachel Smola
8th Grade
MLK Magnet School

If there was one thing I could change to make my community fairer and equitable for all, I would have people treat others the way they want to be treated. I would make this change because it is the basis for a positive society of moral people. People don’t always realize the significance their words and actions have. People demean and snub each other all the time. These deplorable and ruthless actions don’t lead optimism; they lead to hurt. When people treat others the way they want others to treat them, people are happier. People shouldn’t ridicule each other and become vengeful. If everyone was respectful of one another, we’d live happier lives. When people are conceited, our development as a society can be hampered. To gain equality, arrogance must be removed. This could lead to many good things in society. If people weren’t selfish and would compromise, we could get more things done. As time continues and we lose these ideals, fairness and equality go downhill. If people would take a moment to think before they speak or act, we’d all get along better. If everyone treated others the way they would like to be treated, my community would be fairer and more equitable.


3rd Place Middle School

Ainsley Billings
8th Grade
MLK Magnet School

They told me I could be anything

So I decided to be myself

Instead of being esteemed

I was



Put into solitary confinement

Where did my voice go?

My rights?

Vanished overnight

In unison they told me I was nothing

But I know I am something

Because I’m not the one throwing fists at the innocent

The people were vengeful for something I didn’t do

I was excluded from the government

Here the beatings come again

No repercussions only rewards

For those eclipse my suffering


1st Place High School

Masuma Khan (not pictured)
11th Grade
MLK Magnet High School

Show the blind, the unfeeling, the obtuse. Show the world.

Show the everyone what the ugliness looks like, smells like, feels like.

Pick at the scab to free the oppressed blood.

Let them smell. The foul stench of the garbage of their actions, words, and crimes


Peel that dead layer of skin and let them feel the harsh biting wind of today’s society.

Give them LASIK and 20/20 vision so they can see the harrowing crimes committed against teens and adults of different sexuality or color or religion

Give them something to chew on, mull over

If they are unresponsive, shove it down their throat


Peel back their eyes

Bear their flesh to the stifling society in which we live

Clear up their snobby stuffed noses

Let them experience what it actually feels like to be

To be the one receiving the end of the stick

To be juggled around

Thrown around

Tossed around

Only because you are gay

Because you are black

Because you are Muslim

Let them, just once, take in the stings and wounds the oppressed feel, then they’ll change.


2nd Place High School (tie)

Samuel Ejiofor
11th Grade
MLK Magnet High School


The voice in the dark is only as loud as it is heard by the one in the light.

The middleman of mass progression,

Standing at the door between the weary and weak,

And a single silver lining,

“The first of a thousand steps.”


Knocks on the ominous door.

“Help, help!”

No budge.

“Can anyone hear me?”

No budge.

“Please, I need help! Someone open up!”

The other side stays silent, afloat in a sea of content.

But then one…two…three

Cracks forming throughout the door.

The derelict door falls to reveal 2 faces,

One of boiling, seething anger,

The other of extreme exhaustion.

As the fiery fist readies its descent for destruction,

The still, meek voice utters, “Just Listen.”


2nd Place High School (tie)

Lucy Sanchez
11th Grade
MLK Magnet High School

Power of words

The words hold tremendous weight

Thick with intention and thought

An arrow sent streaming directly at a bold target

With the hope of piercing the center precisely

The words sting the ears as they travel to the mind

A soul weeps as the weight of the words crush

A heart longing for justice sits discouraged and empty-handed

But no hateful intentions will prevent the voracious hunger for righteousness

Words of love and peace will march on, never wavering in their step

The enemy will crumble, as words of freedom and hope ring true

Although words of abhorrence spew out of the mouths of the evil

The words of love, equality, and peace drown out their hateful, tired tones

For there will never come a day when the unrelenting words of freedom are suppressed