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Words Matter: Inaugural Poetry Contest Winners

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Ward 6 Dems sponsored Words Matter, a poetry contest open to all residents of Ward 6. The topic of this year's contest was "What does DC Statehood mean to you?"

A big thank you to Frager's for sponsoring our inaugural competition (and HillRag for their promotion) in addition to our judges:

In the end, four poems were chosen as our co-winners. We hope you enjoy them!

Three DC Haiku

Remark: Dakotas

two Senators, one Rep each.

Query: Why not us?

Feds like our taxes.

Representation lacking.

Let our people go!

Statehood will release

DC’s soul. Nation needs our

durable spirit.

by Jill Strachan & Jane Hoffman

One More Would Be 51

Statehood, oh statehood, what could it mean?

A fish from an ocean or an apple from a tree?

Although statehood cannot be those two things,

Statehood is 50 things, and 50 things equal 50 states.

DC can be as loving as Virginia and as tasty as Maryland’s crab cakes.

DC, DC. What is not to like?

Cherry blossoms, mumbo sauce this is where they make the laws.

Washington, DC is the best thing a state could possibly be.

Come and see because it’s important to me.

By: Drew Avery Muie

Age: 9

School: Payne Elementary School

Grade: 3rd Grade

The State of My Statehood

Like unfinished wood, the District of Columbia can survive indoors or

outside of the House.

We prefer to be on the inside, to be included.

We prefer to vote and have it count.

It isn’t a question of politics.

It is answering the question of politics with basic fairness,

Solving issues that taught us civics.

Statehood means being seen in America, being heard in America and,

Growing with Americans.

Simply put, it is Freedom, Equity, Honor, and Respect.

Acquiring these truths is and has been a self-evident uphill battle and often,

an unlikely climb up the ladder through the rings of Congress.

Nevertheless, those like me in the ‘hoods named after Barracks for Marines,

Yards needed for the Navy, Hills with no Caps, Triangles with many corners

and all things George;

We’ve remained Diligent, Empowered, Long-Suffering Tax-Paying


It is because we have hope.

It is because we are diligently waiting for the door to open.

I am patiently waiting for the state of my hood to one day be 51 shades of

statehood good.

And we will continue to make down payments on policies, elections and

decisions without representation until we have proper documents which will

transcend evolution.

Statehood for me is like a big blockbuster movie set to premiere on

Independence Day, the whole world can stream it, watching it from

handheld flat screens.

It is our next Emancipation Day, our newest April 16th, 1862.

It is the result of merging just action with the right vision to leave

behind a country better than the one we were given.

by Tori Collins

What DC Statehood Means to Me

long living in ward six,

where my eyes long

to look up and see that 51 st star fly on flags saluted by our city’s

soldiers who are - even in battle - from full representation barred,

even as with pride and love of this country risked their lives. Maimed.

Taken prisoner. Died.

where my ears long

to celebrate statehood one sultry summer night from the Barracks

stands. Marine band playing Sousa marches chosen mere blocks away

from where composed. Now I hear Duke Ellington’s voice in mood

indigo blue tell Congress what it must do: “Our democracy don’t

mean a thing if statehood don’t swing, Doo-ah. Doo-ah. Doo-ah.” 

where my nose longs

to smell burning sage signal a symbol of statehood turning a page for

Chief Powhatan whose spirit’s known to still trace space in Botanic

Garden, sacred from past time there spent, mere speck of his territory

once vast. Pained uncontained from portraits installed on Rotunda’s

walls nearby; Native peoples cast as passive, daughter Pocahontas

depicted stripped of her name. Shameful images intended to

perpetuate policies of removal indefensible. Rightly resisted as

reprehensible. Rebutted by starkly opposite actions and transactions of

Natives, thousands then living right here. Statehood approval under

that same roof belated pointedly indirect proof; or at least a start with

art’s symbolic removal.

where my mouth longs

to erase sour stinging taste of Constitution embraced to justify

opposition. Masks tight-fisted control over our city many claim their

rightful role, unrepentant of a largely colonialism racist remnant.

Shirley Chisholm wisely warns: surely statehood’s no swift solution.

Segregation stains remain in our city’s prolonged economic inequity.

Affordable housing’s geographic misallocation, uneven education,

basic needs of Wards 7 and 8 unheeded. Educator, first African-

American woman in Congress, first woman and first African-

American presidential candidate, perfect inspiration to articulate our

Resolution: “That 51 st be the state first to make those ideals real for its

citizens – each and every one.”

where my feet long

to celebrate statehood touching Cedar Hills grounds, stunning view

down the Anacostia from once home of Frederick Douglass. Might we

adopt his words powerful and insightful for our statehood fight? “No

American now has a skin too dark to call Washington his home, and

no American has a skin so White as to deny us our rights.”


Long has DC statehood made sense.

Long the wait. Long. Long. Long. Long. Long.

We’ve waited long enough.

by Kathleen O’Reilly

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