This article analyzes interviews of youth poets from the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS) during a time of regressive legislation in Arizona. Two overarching themes emerged: slam as a gateway to growth and leadership and slam as a declaration and examination of self. These themes demonstrate how youth slam poets both accepted and disrupted linear narratives about youth development. The author also analyzes excerpts from a TYPS poem by a DREAMer that demonstrate slam's rhetorical flexibility in the interest of coalition and community justice. The theoretical frameworks offered here encourage more nuanced examinations of texts created and performed by youth.