Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest for Young Adults

Elevating the voice and witness of young Catholic advocates.

About the Contest

Young people are the future of the Catholic Church, tomorrow’s community leaders, and the nation’s next decision makers.

These emerging leaders are critical to the death penalty abolition movement. They consistently oppose capital punishment at higher rates than their older counterparts and understand that the death penalty perpetuates racism, targets vulnerable populations, and risks innocent lives.

Each year, CMN hosts the Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest to lift up the voices of these young advocates, and draw from them inspiration for the work ahead in death penalty abolition.

Contest Requirements

  • Poets must be between the ages of 18-30
  • Poets should be inspired by their Catholic faith to work for justice
  • Poems must be original and written about the injustice of the death penalty
    • Themes to consider: Catholic call to defend the dignity of life, the racist roots of the death penalty, the risk of taking innocent lives, the impact of capital punishment on all people involved

Contest Prizes

All contest winners are published on CMN’s website and social media. In addition, the following prizes are awarded each year from a panel of judges.

First Place: $1,000 cash prize
Second Place: $500 cash prize
Third Place: $300 cash prize

“This is the dreary manufacture of another murderer,
a dull accounting of eyes and teeth.”

Winning Poems Through the Years

Read the inspiring poetry from our winning poets.

CMN Announces Winners of 2024 Poetry Contest

From left to right: Katie Painter, first place; Morgan Miles, second place; Krystia Ramirez, third place. Dozens of young adults ages 18-30 from all across the country entered poems in Catholic Mobilizing Network’s 2024 Justice…

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