Watch CBS News

South Bronx teen Stephanie Pacheco wins citywide poetry competition with powerful message about social justice

Bronx teen wins poetry title
Bronx teen wins poetry title 01:58

NEW YORK -- A South Bronx teen is being honored for her poetry and powerful message about social justice. 

Stephanie Pacheco, 18, was awarded this year's New York City Youth Poet Laureate Award last Tuesday, and it's a moment she says she'll never forget. 

"The energy was so high in the room, I didn't even know what to think," Pacheco told CBS2's Zinnia Maldonado. 

Pacheco beat out 12 other finalists, all young adults part of the Youth Poet Laureate Fellowship led by Urban Word NYC. The organization provides young voices, often those who are marginalized, the training to combine spoken word with civic engagement. 

The fellowship began in New York City back in 2009 and since then has spread to dozens of other cities, leading to the creation of a national competition. 

"In 2017, we had this idea of having a national title, and from there that was the next and final stage. And that was Amanda Gorman -- she was the first to have that inaugural title," said Urban Word NYC Executive Director Shanelle Gabriel. 

As the winner, Pacheco will soon begin a one-year literary tour performing throughout New York City.

"Remind young people, especially young people of marginalized backgrounds, that their voices are necessary, are needed, are powerful," she said. "And that our stories are worth telling."

She now has the chance to compete in the regional competition and then possible win a national title. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.