NAACP Utica/Oneida County chapter to honor local poet laureates

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UTICA — Submissions for the first Oneida County poet laureate and youth poet laureate are in and the NAACP Utica/Oneida County chapter will recognize those selected at a ceremony to be held Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m. at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute.

Participants submitted original poems on the theme of “struggle, hope and resilience.”

Two poets will also be recognized as honorable mentions. The poet lareautes will serve a one-year term from May 2022 through May 2023.

Representatives from the city of Utica and Oneida County will join Rev. Sharon Baugh, president of the Utica/Oneida County branch of the NAACP, and members of the community as those selected read their poetry and are presented with their awards.

The poets will receive an NAACP membership for the year, a package of poetry related books, and have the opportunity to perform at upcoming community events and engage with local high schools and colleges. The poet laureate and youth poet laureate also receive a financial award.

The NAACP Utica/Oneida County poet laureate and youth poet laureate is an initiative intended to recognize the creativity, talent and diverse experiences of community members in Oneida County, particularly as our communities continue to grapple with challenges that are personal and systemic, local and global, officials said. This program provides a spotlight for creative individuals in the county who eloquently express not only their challenges but their hopes for change, and their visión for using poetry and spoken word to have an impact, the announcement added.

“The Utica Oneida County NAACP Youth and Education Committees recognize the importance of civic and community engagement, and encourage our youth to use their distinctive voice,” said Baugh. “The roles of a youth poet laureate and poet laureate provide an opportunity to recognize those who are forging connections and look to make change through creative expression.”

This initiative was made possible with the support of the Bank of Utica and through partnership with the City of Utica, Utica Public Library, and Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. For more information about the initiative, go online to https://tinyurl.com/PoetLaureateGuidelines2022 or email naacputica.oneida@gmail.com.

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