Christian Alvarado
Christian Alvarado (Courtesy photo)

The Black Coalition Against COVID-19 kicked off its series of virtual poetry slam competitions Monday evening with its elementary school slam.

Simulcast on WPFW 89.3 FM and WeACT Radio, the slam, hosted by Kenneth Carroll III and DJ Lance, produced competitors that spoke to their youthful reflections on the impact of the pandemic on their lives.

The poems were as diverse as the students themselves. The 1st place winner was Christian Alvarado, a fifth grader from LaSalle-Backus Education Campus. Christian’s poem “Dim Future” reveals to us the angst that our youth are experiencing during this pandemic:

“I need a guide, as bright as the sunrise
I hear so many cries, as families around the world die
And yet, can anyone remember the time where everything was fine?”

Christian will receive $500 in cash and have get a chance to read his poem personally on WPFW. The judges gave Christian a high score based on complex metaphors including, “Life is the wife of endless strife,” and the emotional impact his poem revealed. Christian credits his success to Ms. Hill for her instruction in his afterschool poetry program where he has learned to write over the past three years.

Rahel Tseganeh, a fifth grader at Bruce Monroe Elementary School was the second-place winner and received $250 and Machi Brooks, another fifth grader from LaSalle Backus Education Campus garnered third place honors and $150. The Black Coalition Against COVID-19 celebrates their voices and their educators who helped them craft their poetry.

Christian and his family, originally from Honduras, were excited about his win but it was unfortunately dimmed by the death of his grandmother from liver cancer the night before the slam. He dedicated his win to her.

The Black Coalition Against COVID-19 continues its poetry slam competition on Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM and streaming on WeACT Radio.

The competition is still open for submissions in the categories of high school (May 22, 4 – 6 p.m.) and adult (May 25, 7 – 9 p.m.)

Entries should be submitted to:

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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