Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Dream Lives on Carnegie Mellon University's Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Writingawards Encourage Students to Relate Their Experiences with Race and Discrimination. Here Are Some of This Year's Winning High-School Entries:

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Dream Lives on Carnegie Mellon University's Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Writingawards Encourage Students to Relate Their Experiences with Race and Discrimination. Here Are Some of This Year's Winning High-School Entries:

Article excerpt

The 15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Writing Awards attracted 13entries from four colleges and universities and 215 entries from eight high schools. Winners will read their entries at 12:30 p.m. Monday in the University Center's Rangos Ballroom. CMU English Professor Jim Daniels, who created the awards, will be honored Friday at Coro Pittsburgh's Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards.

Deborah Monti

16, Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, first place, poetry

"The Woman, the Paradigm"

Skin starts crinkling

As my arms start peeling and my hips start widening

And my freckles begin disintegrating as my face morphs

Into a soft-cheeked big lipped paradigm

Of the Hispanic women society has made me out to be.

Until my hair turns a jet black shade

My eyes an almond brown and my skin a deep cocoa

I cannot speak Spanish

They see that I am pale and lanky and sheltered

And until I crack with Hispanic features

They will not believe my native tongue.

I too had a dream

But it was of sweet bonbons and the local radio station

The chain linked fences and cheap fireworks

Grandmother's sweet kisses.

With a tattooed back, a lip pierced, and a faint accent

I've signed my life to be a Latina teen from Queens

Well I might be

Because that's the only Hispanic woman portrayed on TV.

Alexis Payne

16, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, second-place, poetry

"Give"

My father's eyes become wide sometimes

when he cries

for his people and the lost years

language

the breathless beaten

stripped and whipped

men who look like him.

my father's eyes are brown like his skin

like his scarred hands that screw screws into

metal studs. the nail gun

pops and sputters.

why does my father cry?

as he begs me to take this world

and make something

more than his tools

as he stretches the tape measure

across the window frame and

adds in his head

as he pops the chalk box on the drywall

and cuts with his utility knife

perfect lines and angles

as he leaves for work every morning

at 5 am with his eyes tired,

his knees pained

his back sore

carpenter. proud.

he writes his name on everything

he owns. why does my father cry?

when the men at the site

think he's a laborer because

his skin is brown like his eyes.

he teaches me

to ensure trim on doorways

and lay hardwood floors.

he teaches me to be strong.

and proud.

he tells me that the world is mine

my father's eyes are brown like his skin

like his arms that reach around me and hug

like his tears that burn his cheeks

like sulfur or acid.

why does my father cry?

because his hands are all he has to give

not a language or a culture but his hands

with their lines that I've memorized

like a poem

his hands

my father grits his teeth

and blinks.

pluck him out and in a different

time, my father would scream,

my father would kill.

he would smash glass and break wood

but here my father cries.

he cries

tears into his hands

and they run down the lines

like rivers.

Bani Randhawa

18, Pittsburgh Allderdice, third place, poetry

"The Diary of a Suspected Terrorist"

i am the seventeen years of removing the shoes from my feet

the phone from my pocket

the brown from my skin

as i stand in airport security,

the red hot shame that fills my throat to a close as the

officer swabs my father's turban for explosives.

i am the pungent turmeric that stains the pots in my mother's

kitchen,

its smell lingering in the wool of my sweaters and the strands of

my hair. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.