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June 21, 2018

5/30/2018 3:57:00 PM
"I am just you, darker; you are just me, lighter." In Annual Poetry Slam, Clutch Champions Edge Defenders of the Dream
“Strong Minds,” the dance team of Defenders of the Dream poetry team, follow Langston Hughes’s advice to hold fasat to their dreams.RoundTable photos
“Strong Minds,” the dance team of Defenders of the Dream poetry team, follow Langston Hughes’s advice to hold fasat to their dreams.
RoundTable photos
Clutch Champions Team Poem:
‘These are the Things We Don’t Need’
These are the Things We Don’t Need
    guns, killing, and bodies, children
    dying, people criticizing
having deportations, families leaving
    without their pleasings
These are the Things We Don’t Need
What we need is control over firearms.
and we need less killing.
Don’t arrest people for no reason.
Do not discriminate.
These are the Things We Don’t Need
So many people lose their lives because of shootings
caused by lunatics and psychopaths alike do it
We should fight instead, we should take flight, like Mike
These are the Things We Don’t Need
People live on the street because they get deported,
they have no money to support themselves
No anything except for the lucky ones with families
These are the Things We Don’t Need
We should not judge by color but by personality
no need to kill, but I guess that’s reality
It is a free country.
… We all have voices in this world
All equal – men and women should all have the same pay
because women work just as hard as men
maybe some even harder and we’re getting paid less.
Defenders of the Dream Team Poem:
‘I am, She is, He is, We are’
I am, She is, He is, We are:
I am someone, she is someone,
    He is someone.
We all matter.
Be yourself and love yourself.
I am, She is, He is, We are:
I am gifted, she is strong, he is talented.
We are all Different – make it count.
I am, She is, He is, We are:
Strong, because if something bad hap
    pens in your life, you would let it go.
not some body in the shadows.
I am, She is, He is, We are: ……
Say you were in a school and you
    got bullied,
Don’t say, “Well, your face is ugly.”
Don’t say anything, just tell an adult.
We are powerful people of the world
I am, She is, He is, We are:



By Mary Helt Gavin


The call was between “Things We Don’t Need” and “I am, She Is, He Is, We Are” in the annual Family Focus Poetry Slam held on May 22 in the theater in the Weissbourd-Holmes Family Focus building, 2010 Dewey Ave.

The 16 members of Clutch Champions Poetry Team, sixth-through eighth-graders, and 18 members of Defenders of the Dream Poetry Team, second- through fifth-graders, worked on their individual and group poems all year, said Beth Jacobs, an expressive writing teacher who has worked at Family Focus for more than a decade.

Three opening acts preceded the slam itself. Nikko Ross presented his poem “Don’t Buy the Switch.” His conclusion: “Take back what’s yours instead of buying in stores.”

The Defenders of the Dream Dance Troupe, which had formed spontaneously from the poetry group, performed a dance in their black T-shirts with “Young, Gifted, Black” printed in gold. Strong Minds, the newest group, cut their poetic teeth on memorizing poetry. Holding a paper chain, which they broke with the first words of Langston Hughes’s “Dreams,” the group recited Nikki Giovanni’s “Because,” and Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird.”

The judges, Nina Uziel-Miller, Ph.D., Rules Jean and Maia Hubbard, LPC, rated the young poets on content and presentation. Sianna Waters of Defenders of the Dream won, with Chayse Johnson and Trinity Hampton close seconds, and the team prize went to the Clutch Champions.

“Remember, the numbers are the numbers,” Ms. Jacobs told the young poets.  “The words come from your heart.”





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