Our Words Our City: 

A DC SCORES Poetry Showcase

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater 

1101 6th St SW, Washington, DC 20024

May 7th, 2024

Pre-Event Reception at 6pm. Doors at 6:45 PM

Our Words Our City is the DMV region's premier youth poetry showcase. Our Words Our City is hosted by DC SCORES, which serves more than 3,000 District kids (poet-athletes) through its soccer, poetry, and service-learning programs. The event will feature original spoken-word performances from DC SCORES poet-athletes who participate in the Youth WORD Initiative, a DC SCORES enhanced writing and professional development program for students passionate about poetry and performance. The program will also include the presentation of 2024 Poet-Athlete Awards to bestselling author Jason Reynolds and Ward 4 Councilmember and DC SCORES alumna Janeese Lewis George. 

The event will begin at 6pm with a pre-event reception hosted by DC SCORES' official community partner the Washington Spirit. The reception is first come first served, so arrive early to enjoy drinks and hors d'oeuvres and mingle with some Spirit VIPs! 

Poet-Athlete Award Winners 2024

Janeese Lewis George

 Janeese Lewis George, councilmember for Ward 4, was elected to the Council of the District of Columbia in 2020. Janeese is a third-generation Washingtonian and native of Ward 4. Growing up in a working-class family, Janeese attended Rudolph Elementary School, where she was a member of the DC SCORES team. Prior to serving on the Council, Janeese worked for Philadelphia’s first African-American district attorney and for D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine as the assistant attorney general in the Juvenile Section of the Public Safety Division. Janeese is an experienced attorney, civil servant, community activist, and a passionate leader focused on Ward 4’s future. She is a member of the Washington Bar Association and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Janeese lives with her family in the Manor Park neighborhood of Ward 4. Read more about Janeese Lewis George >

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous award-winning books, including "Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks," "All American Boys" (with Brendan Kiely), "Long Way Down," "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" (with Ibram X. Kendi), "Stuntboy, in the Meantime" (illustrated by Raúl the Third), and "Ain’t Burned All the Bright" (with artwork by Jason Griffin). The recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and multiple Coretta Scott King honors, Reynolds was also the 2020-2022 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He has appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah," "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "CBS Sunday Morning," "Good Morning America," and various media outlets. He is a faculty member at Lesley University for the Writing for Young People MFA Program and lives in Washington, D.C. Read more about Jason Reynolds >

Esther Ciammachilli (Discussion Moderator)

Esther is the local host of Morning Edition on WAMU 88.5. She came to WAMU via WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama, where she was the host of All Things Considered and a reporter. She graduated from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and was the afternoon host at Reno Public Radio while getting her degree. Before returning to college, Esther was an actress and a singer in Las Vegas. She’s a native Californian, originally from San Diego. When she’s not working, Esther enjoys exploring the D.C. region, eating at the District’s many great eateries and playing tourist.

Poet-Athlete Performers


Alexandra is a fourteen-year-old poet-athlete at Capital City Public Charter School. Since writing her first poem as part of the DC SCORES program, Alexandra has become an accomplished youth poet, performing her poetry at slams and events across the East Coast. She writes about social issues with the hope of changing mindsets.


Asher is fifteen years old and attends the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. They have been in the DC SCORES program since they were nine. In addition to writing poetry, Asher enjoys drama and works as a technical and production designer on numerous shows at their school. They like writing narrative poems about their life.


Carter is nine years old and attends Barnard Elementary School. In 2023, she became the youngest-ever poet-athlete to perform at Our Words Our City. In addition to poetry, she enjoys singing, cooking, hiking, and trying new things. She uses her writing to reflect on her life, the world around her, and her favorite music. 


Eleven year old Gini attends DC SCORES at Whittier Elementary School. She loves to perform and enjoys acting and dancing, as well as poetry. She hopes to become a professional actor. Before moving to D.C., Gini lived in Nigeria and has enjoyed meeting new friends through DC SCORES. Her favorite poet is Maya Angelou!


Twelve-year-old Kayla is a poet-athlete at MacFarland Middle School. She wrote her first poem in fourth grade and has since performed her poetry at venues including Audi Field, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Academy of Sciences. She hopes to be a professional writer.


Kollyn is eleven years old and attends Alice Deal Middle School. He joined DC SCORES at nine years old, and enjoys writing about his family and friends. His favorite poet is Clint Smith and his favorite part of performing is engaging with the audience. Kollyn wants to be famous when he grows up!


Eleven-year-old Maya attends the DC SCORES program at Truesdell Elementary School. An avid artist as well as a poet, Maya hopes to become a world-famous cartoonist or a graphic designer. She grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before moving to D.C. and enjoys writing about her feelings and her cultural heritage.


Ten-year-old Veronica is a poet-athlete at School Without Walls at Francis Stevens. She wrote and performed her first-ever poem when she was in the third grade. A D.C. native, she says she loves performing poetry because "it's like telling the world who I am." She enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time outside.