room view of poetry contest

Central Arizona College Poetry Contest Winners

By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

The Central Arizona College Learning Support Department recently held their annual poetry contest to celebrate the contributions of African Americans. This year the theme for the Black History Poetry Contest was “The Legacy We Leave Behind.”

The winners of this year’s poetry contest are:

Kiana Earley-Palafox, Maricopa Campus – 1st

Fernando Ramirez, Maricopa Campus – 2nd

Ivan Smason, Online – 3rd

Following are the winning poems.

Is Colorism My Only Legacy by Kiana Earley-Palafox

Being called mutt like some spotted dog

Or morenita like I don’t belong

Saying I can’t be a part of them

Because of the depth of my father’s melanin

They say “Only a race trader would’ve laid with him to make you

So sorry mixed girl you can’t come through

Because when will it end?

Not just at you

If we allow one darkie in, then we must allow two

That becomes a few.”

I nod okay and see the table of

My melanin kings and queens,

A feast of beautiful Afrocentricity

I go to take part and they act like I shouldn’t be

The slave masters really divided us didn’t they

You were in the field

While I was in the kitchen

But it wasn’t a glam paradise for me

Serving as an incubator for men with evil deep within

Some of these wet nurses barely past pre-teen age

But I wish you could see I’m in the trenches with you

That when they look at me

It’s with the same fear and disgust they also give you

Then maybe you could see that

Even though light skinned my black is beautiful too

Just like you with your pearl hue

And that your story is my story too

 The Legacy We Leave Behind by Fernando Ramirez

When you see me I want you to know, there is much more than my exterior can show.

You can see my smile, but behind it is pride that stretches for over a mile.

Pride in where I come from. We don’t accept or settle for the last crumb.

We fight for justice and rally against fear. We know that History is now here.

You see my attire but might never know, what each color and pattern is really meant to show.

I wear my ancestry with love and pride, The Legacy we come from I will NEVER HIDE.

We are a people of love and care. We succeed and thrive every where.

Let my courage and strength be your guide, just as the lessons of our heritage are our pride.

The contributions made by those in our past, have left such impact and love for generations to last.

Raise your voice, sing and praise when you rejoice.

Say it loud and say it proud.

Speak and build your mind, for remember my brother’s and sister’s…This is the Legacy We Leave


I’m Talkin’ (About New Orleans) by Ivan Smason

I’m talkin’ bold Buddy Bolden and the Mardi Gras

I’m talkin’ old fashioned opera

And the Philharmonica

I’m talkin’ about Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong

I’m talkin’ about New Orleans all night long

I’m talkin’ Louie Moreau Gottschalk and Jack Dupree

I’m talkin’ Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis

Delfeayo Marsalis, Jason Marsalis and the rest of the family

I’m talkin’ Jelly Roll Morten and Louis Armstrong

I’m talkin’ about New Orleans all night long

I’m talkin’ a whole lot of brass bands in Congo Square

Kid Ory, Harry Connick, Jr., Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint

And Professor Longhair

I’m talkin’ about the great George Lewis and Louis Armstrong

I’m talkin’ about New Orleans all night long

I’m talkin’ James Carroll Booker and Dr. John

Antoine “Fats” Domino and the Nevilles

Up at Audubon

I’m talkin’ about Mahalia Jackson and Louis Armstrong

I’m talkin’ about New Orleans all night long

That is the end of this New Orleans music song

I hope someday you’ll join me and sing along