2020 Winner

Dear Politicians

Christopher James Bishop loved teaching German

Ryan Clark, a month from graduation

Caitlin Hammaren, a talented violinist

Alicia White

Joaquin Oliver

Meadow Pollack

Peter Wang

Clayton Parks

And on and on and on


I could list thousands of names

Stories of lives torn apart

Bullets piercing bleeding bodies

Beating hearts hear gunshots and fall silent

And when I am done reading

Another name will be added to the list


Your calloused hands claw for bloody bills

Breathlessly, blindly,

Politicians accept bribery

Like puppeteers

The NRA pulls in politicians and keeps them on a string

Paralyzed, hypnotized, as you look in the eyes of injustice’s aid

Destruction and death

All for a letter grade


You cite open doors

A violent video game

Each death you think up something else to blame

You pitiless people profiting off pain

Pacify never rectify this pathetic paradigm

As if lives loved and lives lost amount to nothing

As if!


If you collected our tears we’d flood the world

Washing away the remnants of the lives that you stole

I could build an ark to keep me afloat

With bulletproof windows and a kevlar raincoat


And still there are more names

More lives owed justice

Henry Lee

Juan Ortiz

Nicole White

Carrie Parsons

Don’t you see what you’ve done?

You’re blind to the broken hearts

The heartache, the heartbreak

The Kindergarteners cowering under desks

Faces fraught with fear

Just a drill, just a drill, why is this a drill?

You are numb to the frantic I love you whispered into phones

Don’t you see: we are the ones who reap the inaction you have sown


So when your eyes are pried open and you see what you’ve done

I’ll send my thoughts and prayers


Abby Kelso

Sheridan School

Grade: 8


Washington, DC


Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

Gillian Flynn

Dream for the Future:

I would like to go to school in person and not via Zoom.

Inspirational Figure:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg