Black Joy Poetry Contest

After reviewing over two dozen submissions from Manchester students, we are honored to announce the winners of the inaugural Black Joy Poetry Contest.

The Black Joy Poetry Contest was created through a partnership between the Department of Race & Equity and the Town of Manchester’s Neighborhoods & Families Division, and it offered Manchester students grades K-12 the opportunity to submit a poem based around the theme of “Black being joyful, beautiful, excellent, brilliant, magical, powerful & necessary!”

All poetry submissions were reviewed by a committee of local poets, including Manchester’s very own Poet Laureate, Ryan Parker. The awarded poets will all receive a gift certificate to a local Black business, along with a copy of the book
Happyvism: A Story About Choosing Joy, courtesy of the Department of Race & Equity.

We are privileged to recognize the following seven poets as the winners of the inaugural Black Joy Poetry Contest (posted in submission order). Please note that all poems are preserved in their original form as submitted by each student and/or teacher.

Ethan Murray

4th Grade, Bowers

Black Joy means to me

Feeling the fresh air and brightness on my brown skin, I feel free

Black boy joy is helping others and feeling my best, I feel free

When I’m laughing in the hallways with my school friends, I feel free

Or going to an amusement park with my family, I feel free

My love for the piano and trumpet taking me on a musical journey, I feel free

Black Joy makes the world a better place for you and me

Not feeling offended for the skin that I’m in, I feel free

Free is the best place I like to be

Leah Nurse

10th Grade, MHS

So yes. I am black joy. From the negro spirituals pumping

through my veins with the resilience to fight for change no

matter the outcome

From the melody that rings in my ears of a bass drum

calling me to be better

Be stronger than the last

Be true black excellence and let them know that they can

not silence me

The blood in my veins will keep on streaming because the

pound of my heart keeps on beating, no matter the beating

because I am a warrior and a warrior is within me

Xaria-Kay Braham

8th Grade, Illing

The rich beauty Of black people

We black People tend to misunderstand who we are.

We black People tend to forget who we are.

As black people we don’t know how special we are,

The special power inside of us,

It is so strong,

It is so precious,

It is so pure,

So pure that you don’t realize how

Many beautiful things that shine

through us.

Proud as any lion,

Proud as any tiger,

Proud as no one can imagine.

proud to be a black person

Proud of who I am made to be.

We people of color always thought that our skin

Color was irrational and ugly, but didn’t know that we are

Very beautiful than we think,

Stronger than we think,

Rarer than we think.

Our Beauty comes with love,




And many more.

The rich beauty of


Alison Eagleson’s Students

K, Martin

Black Joy Is…

Black joy is…

Proud of my skin

Proud I am Black

Black joy is…

A writer

A dancer

A mathematician

A basketball player

A singer

A soccer player

A super reader

A runner

An artist

Black joy is…




I love to be me!

By Aaron, Asempa, Christos, Flynn, Henry, Kwame, La’Nica, Levi, Lexi, Luke, Mason, Miya,

Nevan and Alison Eagleson

Kevyn Robinson

4th Grade, Highland Park

Black Boy Joy

Beautiful black joy

Laughter with my friends

Awesome poem

Cool poet and “I didn’t know it”

Kind and caring friends

Big brother of 3

Older than the rest

You are a joyful community

Joyful to one another

Overjoyed with family

You should find your happy place NOW!

Dalizja Legree

4th Grade, Highland Park

Playing basketball like Candace Parker.

Shooting hoops until it gets darker

Gymnastics at the playground with my friends.

I love all the time that we spend.

Doing splits like a pro, call me Simone Biles.

I can do cartwheels for miles and miles.

When I look up and pray above I feel a wave of love.

It reminds me of the joy when my dog brings me his drooly toy.

Sometimes things get hard in this world and test the joy of a little black girl.

And with my family and friends my joy never ends.

Judith Christopher

K, Waddell

Beauty In Every Color

I am so proud to be a brown girl.

Brown skin with a cinnamon swirl!

I am brown like hot cocoa,

Only one part of the human rainbow.

Brown, Black, White, or Pink,

When playing together, Joy is what we feel and think.

What is a rainbow without colors?

A life without others.

Brown, like a chocolate pearl,

I am so proud to be a brown girl.

We would also like to honor every student’s submission for the Black Joy Poetry Contest. From kindergarten to high school, we received submissions from a wide range of students, all of whom submitted wonderfully authentic, introspective poems, all based around the theme of Black Joy.

Please see below for the remainder of submissions for the Black Joy Poetry Contest (in order of submission & preserved in their original form). We would like to thank every student and classroom who submitted for this year’s project, and we can’t wait to see what the many poets of Manchester’s youth craft next year!

Giovanni Livingston

4th Grade, Keeney

Black is a color of the


But some people don’t

know that black is a color of

the rainbow.

And once you know, you’ll

tell everyone that you know,

that Black is a color of the


Kalina Orlowski

4th Grade

Black Joy











Black Joy

Black Heritage


Are them




On top of things

You are special, and unique

Elisabeth Ernstorm

4th Grade, Highland Park

Even though I am white

And you may feel blue

Who cares if you’re black

You are beautiful

And perfectly you

Arianna Roane

4th Grade, Martin

I Am

I am dark like the night sky

I am flying through the stars

I am a friend till the end

I am hope for you and for me

I am someone to talk to

I am someone to cry on

I am someone who you can snuggle with

I am a sister

I am a daughter

I am a person you can rely on

I am a friend that can help you with anything

I am happiness to spread to the world

I am love for anyone who comes in my path

I am creative like a artist

I am love like the wind

I am a hot summer day

I am someone that you can joke around with

I am happy that I ran into you

I am Black joy!

Alisha Anwer

4th Grade, Martin

In some ways we are the same, and in some ways we are different .

Some are Black and some are white.

Let us appreciate our differences.

Black and white the does not matter for we are all people.

Let us treat all of us equally.

People don’t need to like what you like – WHY?

Because they like what they like, and you like what you like.

Let us treat all of us equally.

And let us celebrate Black joy all together!

So many amazing Black people – let’s appreciate them.

Martin Luther King. Harriet Tubman.

Rosa Parks sat on a bus, a white man wanted to sit and Rosa said no.

Claudette Colvin was even younger when she did the same.

They marched and went to jail in order to give us freedom so why do not we repay them for this deed.

Let us treat all of us equally like we are a huge family. Treat each other kindly – like siblings!

What if everyone was one skin color and was like you?

This world would be plain, and boring.

We all matter, no one is better, no one is worser.

Take away from this that your skin color is beautiful, you are you.

Be yourself and never change.

You are amazing the way you are, so be yourself

Benjamin Robinson

4th Grade, Martin

This is a Sign of Summer

The sky it’s brightest blue,

Dogs are ‘sniffin your shoes,

Everyone getting new hair dews,

This is a sign of summer.

The birds chirpin,

Kids Splashing,

The Fun has just begun.

Children laughing,

Parents ‘chattin,

This is a sign of summer.

Hydrants open,

Black joy Poems,

This is a Sign of summer.

Birthday Parties,

And Longer Days,

This is a sign of summer.

Black People Dancing,

With their feet prancin,

This is a sign of summer

Emerson Geary

4th Grade, Martin

Let’s Celebrate Black Joy!

Black people are awesome, Black people are kind

Black people are important in our minds

Black people are different and they are diverse

Black people add so much to this universe

Everyone should join hands and honor them with love

As they show the world everything they are made of

Everyone is different and they are too

So let’s celebrate them all the way through

But if that does not happen let us fight for their rights

Because we should all be equal…right?!

Gabriella Fitzgerald

4th Grade, Martin


Black people are cool!

Black people are great!

Black people are creative!

Black people are interesting!

Black people are music to the beat!

Black people make a difference!

Black people are JOY to the world!

And here’s one more:

Roses are red, violets are blue,

Black people are awesome and so are you!

Jada Pierce

4th Grade, Keeney

I like being black

Because I am proud of it

I am so strong with my skin color

At all times

God made me to be me

I am happy

Do you like your skin color?

Because I do.

The world needs me in it

At all times

I am black for a reason

God needs me,

And my teachers too,

And my Momma, and Dada,

and the twins, and my sister and my brother

My dad and mom made me to be me

The reason why I love my skin color

Is because of my beautiful brown skin

It is so gorgeous

In so many different ways

And it’s cute

Jazyln Hogan Rosario

4th Grade, Bowers

I Am Black

I am Black.

I am happy I am Black.

The things I see and hear,

It makes me feel like I’m not the only one.

The laughter,

The fun,

The people,

The food.

I am Black.

Caroline Cruz

4th Grade, Bowers

Mr. Peters

Mr. Peters plays sports

And I like seeing him be happy

And joyful.

He has this type of move that makes him feel confident.

And, most importantly,

I love him with all my heart.

Ty’rell Sampson

4th Grade, Bowers


  1. Play football
  2. We play fight

Best thing about him

We don’t get hurt,

He might push me and I get mad.

He runs away.

I chase him.

But at the end of the day,

He’s the best brother ever!

Xaige Johnson

Highland Park

Being Different

Being underwater. Being great.

Being different is not the same.

Being black having tricky hair. Some people like to stare.

My braids flow through the air and I don’t care.

I’m like a treasure chest. In the air. My skin shines. My hair flows. I’m happy and everybody


Falling asleep and waking up I feel like a natural person when I stand up. I’m sweet and kind

I’m tall and tough but everybody likes to laugh and push. Is it me or is it the culture they see?

Having different clothes, shoes and food people judge and think its a fool.

I don’t care because my culture is everywhere. My black girl magic is powerful and strong.

I try to run away when I get judged, but sometimes the truth can hurt

Emma Cole

4th Grade, Highland Park


Kind to all no matter what color

Innocent to my bone no matter what happens

Talented all the way like the sky

Thoughtful more than I ever could be

Excited to say no matter what color still my friend

Nice all the way from the start to the end

Safe all the time to myself and to all my family and friends

Sam Oesi Agymang

Highland Park

Sam’s Poem

I love football!

I am a QB throwing the ball.

I feel happy!

This is my black boy joy.

I love Five Nights at Freddy’s.

My favorite is Funtime Foxy.

He can see through the dark.

This is my black boy joy.

I have pride in Ghana.

I like the lions there.

I love my family in Ghana.

This is my black boy joy.

Treyjon Thorpe

4th Grade, Highland Park

I love playing football with my brother.

I love throwing the ball.

I love birthday parties.

I love the cake.

I love water parks.

I love the slides.

I love tacos.

They’re my favorite.

This is my black boy joy

Yerik Torres

4th Grade, Highland Park

I love music

I love to hear music on a phone

And the beat is amazing.

I love to swim. The water is so deep.

It makes me happy.

I like happiness. It looks like me playing with friends

People yelling at each other.

Brilliant & powerful.

Ariella Okai

4th Grade, Highland Park

Black Girl Joy

1) Dancing in the Moonlight

Dancing in the Moonlight.

The wind flows through my mind

Thanking God for what he’s done for me

See, he’s all I have.

Going to church makes me happy because I always have him by

My side

Signing the songs that make me happy

Seeing him love me and will never stop

This is my black girl joy

2) I love my brother

My brother takes care of me and he’s always awesome

He took care of my mom and I love him. Always.

He’s smart and teaches me his ways. He loves me

And will never stop. He knows when I’m in trouble

And he loves me to the end. He will never stop loving me til

The end. I will always think of him when I am in trouble

I will love him and care for him and never stop.

He’s my only hope so

I thanked him for loving me every hard time even in Ghana.

He will never stop holding on

To me and I love him for that

AR thank you for being the best brother in the world

This is my black girl joy

3) Accomplishing my dreams and being different

Sometimes people hate me for my Black skin but I don’t care.

I only want to sing and dance when I grow up so I don’t

Like what they’re saying, but I still want to do my thing.

And when I grow up I’ll show them what I can do, so

They’ll start seeing black people are not that bad and black

People are always like white people.

Sometimes they are activists and sometimes they are from

The same city or country, but the only right thing you should

Do is to not judge black people becuz of their skin.

If you do then God will not like you. If you insult someone

Then you don’t really love God

This is my black girl joy

Nana Manu

5th Grade, Bennet

Dr. Martin luther king jr. was a man with great strength

preached about love in a peaceful way,

Dr. Martin luther king jr. had a dream

that we would work us a team,

We shoudn’t care about the color of our skins

let’s get along, and be good friends.

Dr. Martin luther king jr.left the world too soon

but your teaching will be always be remembered

and be also thankful

for the path you showed us to a better way.

Malaiya Murphy

4th Grade, Martin

“I am a dream ”

I am a black, strong, and beautiful girl.

I am a colorful artist that never stops for nothing.

I am adventurous and colorful in any and every way.

I am a big book of pages that keep adding on and on every day.

I am outgoing to others, meaning Friendly, respectful, and helpful.

I am a ram that has two horns on their head, which is a symbol.

I am my mom’s precious pearl that she protects, takes care of, and loves forever

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