CHATTANOOGA METRO AREA, TN – In recognition of National Poetry Month, RISE Chattanooga is partnering with two local organizations—the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Chattanooga Chapter, Inc. and the Chattanooga Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.—to honor the legacy of Black women writers with The Hill We Climb: Black Women Thriving by Writing.

This program was inspired by the work of Amanda Gorman and comes in two parts: a poetry competition and community discussion. The poetry competition is open to Black girls and women in middle school, high school, and college. Young artists are encouraged to submit pieces about overcoming adversity, triumph, and feelings of thriving in their world. Interested poets can submit their work here. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 23 at midnight.

From President of the Chattanooga Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Amy R. Davis, “The Chattanooga Alumnae Chapter Arts and Letters Committee is focused on advancing cultural experiences by highlighting the artistic contributions of African Americans, both past and present. We feel it is essential to share their gifts of music, poetry, art, and dance. We are honored to partner in this event which highlights the artistic works of Amanda Gorman. We know that providing a platform of this nature for young contestants will give them an opportunity to stimulate their excellence in the arts.”

“Black women in literature have long been some of the most powerful voices in America. They have been trailblazers, challengers, mirrors for our culture and collective consciousness,” says Woodson Carpenter, RISE Community Art Strategist. “It is imperative that we honor these legacies, and it is a pleasure to partner with Black women to make that happen.”

Representatives from each of the partner organizations will review submissions and select one winner from each age group to be awarded $100 and invited to share their work at a community gathering on Thursday, April 29 at 6pm on Zoom. The culminating event will celebrate our community’s young writers and explore the significance of Amanda Gorman’s work and reading for President Biden’s inauguration. While Black women will be centered at this event, all are welcome to join.

“NCBW-Chattanooga is proud to partner with RISE-Chattanooga and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. We deliver support services that help youth achieve their educational goals through STEAM and this partnership will provide more exposure to the world of Art.” remarks Deborah Flagg, NCBW Chapter President. “By supporting positive experiences, encouraging excellence in education and promoting the pursuit of positive lifelong goals, NCBW is creating future leaders.”