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Local NAACP opening submissions for Utica-Oneida County’s poet laureate, youth poet laureate


UTICA, NY — The Utica-Oneida County Branch of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People announces their continued collaboration with the City of
Utica to select Oneida County’s Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate for 2023-2024.
The goal of the NAACP Utica-Oneida County 2023-2024 Poet Laureate and Youth Poet
Laureate initiative is to highlight the creativity, talent and diverse experiences of Oneida
County community members. As our local communities continue to struggle personally and
professionally with educational, economic, and racial and social justice challenges, many
residents are eloquently expressing through poetry and spoken word the changes and
transformations that result from the challenges they face.
Initially inspired by the vision shared by Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first Youth Poet
Laureate, Oneida County’s 2022 Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate spoke to struggle
hope, and resilience, inspiring us all to consider how we persist and where we find hope in
the most difficult of times. This year, we invite all to submit original poems on a related
theme of “making cents: positive change inside and out”, reflecting how we respond to the
changes we experience, how those changes transform us, and the ways in which we are part of creating change.
One candidate will be selected to serve as the NAACP Utica-Oneida County Poet Laureate,
and a second candidate will serve as the Youth Poet Laureate from May of 2023 through May of 2024. The Youth Poet Laureate role is intended for those aged 13-18, and the Poet
Laureate is open to residents ages 19 or older. Candidates should meet the age criteria as well as be residents of Oneida County or attend an academic institution in Oneida County.
Winners and honorable mentions will be recognized at an award ceremony on Sunday, April
23, 2023.  The Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate will receive a range of prizes and engage with community members through performing at community events and connecting
with high schools and colleges throughout the summer and following year. Sponsors include
the City of Utica and the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute.
Tinashe Manguwa, selected as Poet Laureate in 2022, reflected on what this role has meant to him. “Before becoming poet laureate, writing was often a solitary craft, and I wanted to
shield my words from the critique of others. This role has shown me the power of poetry
when it is shared and given to others. I have been fortunate to interact with others who share my passions and witnessed firsthand how the arts can bring people together.”

The Utica-Oneida County Branch of the NAACP’s Poet Laureate initiative continues the
NAACP’s long tradition of empowering the marginalized to make room for themselves in
society,” said Mrs. Freddie Hamilton, President of the Utica-Oneida County NAACP chapter.
“Nothing is more empowering than the opportunity to speak our truth, and to be heard!
Nothing is more sacred than the integrity of our own minds, and the poets among us help us to understand the many ways that our souls experience, understand and express life. We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for”
The deadline to submit an application and relevant work is Monday, March 6, 2023. For
more information, guidelines and how to apply, please visit
For more information, please email

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded on
the beliefs embodied in the Constitution of the United States of America. The mission of the
NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all
persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

Utica Phoenix Staff
Utica Phoenix Staff
The Utica Phoenix is a publication of For The Good, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) in Utica, NY. The Phoenix is an independent newsmagazine covering local news, state news, community events, and more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and also check out Utica Phoenix Radio at 95.5 FM/1550 AM, complete with Urban hits, morning talk shows, live DJs, and more.

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