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MLK Poetry Contest

The City of Pembroke Pines invites students attending school or residing in Pembroke Pines to respond to a call for original poetry, spoken word or creative writing pieces. This literature competition will bring together the voices of the local youth with their reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.


One entry per student.

Submissions must be emailed to: thefrank@ppines.com

Email Submissions must include:
- Email Subject “Poetry Competition”
- Contact information (Name, Phone number, Age, Grade, and School, Teacher’s Name and Email Address)

All pieces must be original writing containing at least 15 words and at most 300 words.

Submissions will be accepted from Monday, November 20, 2023 until Friday, January 5, 2024.

Poetry submissions should reflect upon how Dr. King’s words of kindness, acceptance, and compassion continue to shape our thoughts and actions in the face of injustice and inequality. We urge our youth to be alert to, engage with, and evaluate what they see around them. Just like Dr. King’s words “I have a dream” continues to inspire countless people, we believe that your words can inspire the people around you too.

Optional writing prompts:

  • What does it mean to stand up for what you believe in?
  • How does kindness and acceptance shape our community for the better?
  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Judges will look for works that exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

The City of Pembroke Pines & The Frank C. Ortis Gallery reserves the right to NOT select the following submissions:

  • Work that are offensive in subject matter.
  • Work(s) that are not original in nature.
  • Work that contains discriminatory, demeaning or disparaging words towards an individual or group of individuals based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, disability, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
  • Work that contains descriptions of violence or an act(s) of violence or harm to a person or animals.

Winners, Ceremony & Prizes

One winner will be selected from each grade level category: 3rd Grade – 5th Grade, 6th Grade – 8th Grade and 9th Grade – 12th Grade.

On Monday January 15, 2024 winners will read their pieces and will be presented with a

$50 gift card during our Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at 10 am at the Charles F. Dodge City Center Plaza.

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