Reporter Lisa Kaylor blogs about faith and values

Liberty, a poem

Michael Cohen
Winners of a poetry contest on the subject of liberty were honored at the Augusta Jewish Community Center this month. From left are William O’Gorman, third prize; Kelsey Cunningham, honorable mention; Jessica Greenbaum, a guest poet and the author of Investing Difficulty; Delaney Chesnick, second prize; and Nia McGann, first prize. Missing from the picture is Asia Snow, who received an honorable mention.

This winter, local students were asked to write and submit poems in a contest inspired by Emma Lazarus, the Jewish poet who wrote The New Colossus, the sonnet inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

The poetry competition was held in conjunction with an exhibit and series of special events sponsored by The Augusta Jewish Community Center and the Augusta Jewish Federation. Winners were recently honored at a ceremony at the AJCC. Below is the winning poem by Nia McGann, a student at Stallings Island Middle School in Martinez.



By Nia McGann


Cold, Hard, Wet,

I sit on this damp floor,

Along with other people,

Punished, Persecuted, Poor.


We come looking for Freedom,

We hear we’ll find it here,

This land called America it is,

We feel joyous, but also fear.


Fear of what lies ahead,

What if the stories were wrong?

What if things are the same here?

Then my father’d be right along.


Maybe I was wrong for this

He said I shouldn’t come

I really miss my family though

Can’t turn back, the journey’s begun.



The exhibit Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience continues through Jan. 21. Call the Augusta Jewish Community Center at (706) 228-3636 for more information.

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