Today, Senna and Marquesha brought down the house with their powerful poetry at the Women in the World summit. By the end of their performance, they left the audience awestruck: choruses of cheers swept Lincoln Center, and without a dry eye in sight. Senna and Marquesha themselves – both awe-stricken by each other’s spirit and the respective power of their words – embraced, both in solidarity and in recognition of each other’s courage and resilience.

Here, on stage with Marie Arana, Marquesha embraces Senna.

Inspired by Senna’s intensity and spirit, 18 year-old Get Lit - Words Ignite poet Marquesha understands that there is a little piece of Senna in all of us. On stage, Marquesha remarked that Senna, “through it all, kept a smile. She learned poetry on her own, she did everything herself.”

Marquesha is from Compton, Los Angeles. After being homeless for seven years, she became a straight-A honor student and recently graduate from high school. Senna will start college next week.

“I wrote my response to Senna because she doesn’t use her problems as an excuse to sit around and not go to school. She uses her problems as motivation, and that inspired me so much,” she says.

Translated by Marie Arana. “Father” was written and performed by Senna today, at the Women in the World summit. Her father, who died when Senna was a young girl, inspired her poetry.

There is a little piece of Senna in all of us.
The unbreakable warrior princess from Peru,
From Haiti,

From Africa,
From wherever you are from.

Our stories all connected by words
Spoken from a place of untamable fire blazing determination
To succeed.
Speaking words more masculine than the world’s strongest man,
Because we are the world’s strongest.

Our daily workout consists of bench-pressing six tons of stress off our chests,
A hundred push ups working against the odds on our back weighing us down, and running an unlimited number of miles because we are
Never
Quite
Done

This is the workout of Senna, the fearless warrior princess
This is the workout of every girl I know – and every girl I wish I knew –
This is the workout of every girl rising against trials, tribulations, and stereotypes

This is for every girl who has taken two steps forward, three steps back, then gathered herself and jumped six steps ahead,

This is for every girl rising.

This is for every
Senna.

To see a full recap and video of Senna and Marquesha’s appearances at the Women in the World summit, please go here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2014/04/04/education-and-poetry-change-two-girls-lives.html