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Congratulations to the 2023 Winners!

The Empowering Justice Charitable Foundation held a poetry contest in April 2023 in honor of National Poetry Month and poet Kween Regine

Thank you to all who participated! We enjoyed reading your poetry!

We are pleased to announce this year's winner. 

Congratulations to: 

Mbia Mvondo

Lailanie Spruill-Gutierrez

A'Zariah Alston

Aubrey Williams

All winners hail from South Carolina! 

Each year there is a different theme for the poetry contest.

The theme for 2023 is: Courage

High School and up: 1st Place Winner

"My Chest Cries Tears of Red"

Written by Mbia Mvondo from South Carolina

Shards of glass and metal fly past my face.

The cries of my enemies blend with the cries of my brothers.

I imagine my kin

softly sleeping in our home miles away.

I grit my teeth and breathe out my fear.

I scream in silence

as I trot over the fallen.

Bronze bullets bounce off my bones.


I feel no pain.

I can only see

in shades of gray.

I shoot.

They fall.

But I don´t stop.

The Courage runs through my veins

until I hear the enemy scream,


But now I feel the pain.

I fall to my knees.

My chest cries tears of red.

But I smile because

I'm home at last.

2nd Place Overall Winner

"Courage of Me"

Written by A'Zariah Alston from South Carolina

The courage I have inside of me 

Is nothing but what I want to be


Courage is like someone you trust

Someone who doesn’t leave you in the rust


Oh how I want to be

That courage inside of me


Courage is love

Flying like a soaring dove


Courage is a feeling so new

A feeling inside of you


Courage is believing 

Someone who is not deceiving


Courage is caring for others

Like your sisters and brothers


Oh how I want to be

That courage inside of me


Oh that courage in me

Is exactly what I want to be…..

Elementary 1st Place Winner


Written by Lailanie Spruill-Gutierrez from South Carolina

Courage is the light and heart inside you  

the thing you build up inside you to try something new, 

Sometime you can be scared, 

But if you have courage you have nothing to fear. 


When I was a little girl I was afraid of heights, 

but now that I have  courage I have no fear. 

Life can be scary yes I know, 

but with courage and life you can just go with the flow. 


Even though you might not know it, 

 Courage starts with you. 

Courage is a special feeling something so new, 

Wherever you go you have courage inside you. 

When your scared of something new, 

Just remember that courage is inside you. 

So when your scared,

Just build up that courage inside you. 


When your scared, 

Don’t have fear.

Just remember, 

Courage is always there.

3rd Place Overall Winner

"The Theme Courage"

Written by Aubrey Williams from South Carolina

Courage to stand out.

Courage to be me.

This courage I wish I had so drastically!


Courage to laugh. 

The feeling to be free.

Oh I wish I wish I had this courage inside of me.


Courage to love.

Courage to trust.

To have this courage would be a plus.


Courage is a strong power in my heart

Courage is something that never pulls us apart

Courage is in something that we all have 

Courage is family 

Courage is hope

Courage is power

Courage makes us strong 

Courage is love

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

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