Aniyah Orr-Howard: Winner of Douglas Park Poetry Contest

Congratulations to our Douglas Park Poetry Contest Winner, Aniyah Orr Howard for her poem, “Douglas Park.”

Our final two poems were printed and put up at the Douglas Park field house for community input, and Aniyah’s poem was chosen for installation. Howard’s work will be installed in the park later this year, and we’ll have a launch event in the park, featuring the winning and shortlisted poets read. Congratulations to our winner, and huge thanks to all who submitted, our selection committee, and to community members who voted for the final poem!

Winning Poem

Douglas Park
by Aniyah Orr Howard

The sun kisses the ground
As shadows of footsteps race to the land of adventure
As young minds swing back and forth
With eyes on a higher destination
The sky has no limit
And young bodies hold the courage to sprout wings
Hope creates the imagination
And imagination births dreams
For the playground
Is the stomping ground of doubt
And the stage of opportunity and freedom
As young soles stand on rocks
That are mountains and declare their greatness.


About the Poet

Aniyah Orr-Howard Aniyah Orr Howard is a poet, public speaker, and community advocate born on the west side of Chicago. She took to poetry and music at a very young age and spoke for President Obama at the ages of 8 and 15. She is an active member of Westside Rising, an organization that collectively includes influential organizations on the west side of Chicago to rally for change. She also works to develop banking institution availability across the west and south sides of Chicago.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.