Karina Oliva Alvarado -
K's poetry is her water and sharing it, her breath. Born in El Salvador, she emigrated
to the U.S., age four, and continues to live in Pico Union, known for its Central
American population. From hardship and violence, she was made a warrior early on, yet
her quest for social justice remains motivated by empathy. K's best learning emerges
from mother-hood, gente and ancestor knowledge. Someday she hopes to bring on miracles of the mind,
free the naked spirit, and nurture the human core. A visual artist, she remains committed
to the spoken word and is grateful to the creative, intellectual, spiritual, and
activist communities of which she belongs. Part of her academic focus is on Salvadoren/Salvadoren
American cultural production related to place/memory/nostalgia informing identity politics.
She's interested in hearing about your migration experiences through word/art.
For all inquiries contact: [email protected],
Abbye Jo Atkinson
Says that the most revolutionary thing we could ever do is truly love each other. Of course, love
is manifested in many ways and is not always a flowery and passive emotion as it is portrayed.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Abbye sings and plays her magical guitar
to save her soul and maintain her sanity in a world that tells her that dark-skinned, immigrant
black women with short natural hair are not particularly welcome. Abbye is also a member of A Mic
and Dim Lights Alumni and has performed at numerous colleges, universities and youth camps.
Recently relocated to the Bay Area, Abbye teaches high school Special Education. With first hand
knowledge that our children are under siege, Abbye encourages everyone to reach out to any young
person within their path and, be a true revolutionary ...show them that they are loved...
Anayvette Maria Bran
Is the daughter of a Salvadorian father and Nicaragüense-American mother. She strongly believes
in the power of spoken word. As an activist, poet, organizer, follower of Yemaya and
infiltrator at U.C.L.A majoring in Chicana Studies and Latin American Studies, she enjoys
eating ripe mangos under a full moon and making love to her writing. Her inspirations and
influences come from her colorful familia and two-spirited nature. She currently stands as
"La Mera Mera" of La Gente newsmagazine, and continues to let the world have it palabra por palabra.
Adriana Cabrera-Garcia -
Encourages creativity as cultural resistance! Born and raised in San Jo, Cal, she throws
the spoken word with the California "END-Dependence Poets Collective." She graduated from
SJSU majoring in public relations, with a minor in Chicana/o Studies last May. She is
one Chicana reggae lover who can do it all...baila, pinta, escribe, sonríe, and creates!
As a cultural worker and political activist, she has initiated multiple projects addressing
the Chicano community among students, youth and the working-class. She has recently begun
organizing efforts within the Filipino community as well...on the theme of art and spirituality.
In addition, being involved in numerous collectives working with the youth and drawing from
her personal experience, she uses and promotes art for self-healing and community transformation.
Johnny Chavarría is an Hondureño poet/rapper, activist and 'maestro' from the
Mayan coast 'de la Ceiba.' He is an undergraduate at U.S.C., but he'd rather tell you
that he works with the youth of South Central Los Angeles. Johnny is passionate about
making social change a reality. His smile radiates energy, and his lyrics inspire
others to want to take a stand against all forms of injustice. He is definitely a
spiritual brother on a quest.
Camincha is from Miraflores,Lima,Perú. Calls the United States her second home and keeps
close to her roots for she feels that "it is much easier to get where you want to go when you are
proud of where you come from." Earned her M.A. in 1987 in Spanish Literature at San Francisco State
University. Was selected by KDTV for their segment "One of Ours" to honor her contributions to the
Latin American community in the Bay Area. Her poems,short stories and translations have been
published in English and Spanish on Lit & E-Zines magazines. And has desktop published three
chapbooks. The San Francisco Bay Guardian,says: "Camincha frames the ordinary in a way that
makes it extraordinary, and that is real talent."
Janssen Chavarria was raised in South Central, Los Angeles. He was originally
born in the Mayan Coast of La Ceiba, Honduras and immigrated in 1984 crossing
Babylon's walls. He's motivated to make social change a reality by working
with youth in the inner city, and hopes to create a community center that
opens the doors to artistic minds. Janssen is currently majoring in
International Development and Latin American Studies at UCLA. He is a rapper,
poet and teacher of the Creator's love, who writes to reach souls and bring
honor to all who fought before us because he believes our past history is
extremely important in order to formulate our identities.
Maya Chinchilla -
A Guatemalan writer, journalist and member of Epicentro Poets, is originally from Long Beach
and now lives in San Francisco Mission District. She has worked in public radio over the past
8 years, ranging from music director and DJ, to newscaster and producer. She loves world music
and Rock en Español, finds guilty pleasure in film and is a fervent advocate for immigrant
rights. She believes deeply in the intersection of politics and art and has enjoyed organizing
events showcasing artists who celebrate that intersection, over the past 10 years. Some of her
creative highlights include starting the first artistic latino magazine in Santa Cruz, La Revista;
her all female-hosted rockenespañol radio show en plena acción, human relations training in
high school before and after the LA Riots, and her involvement in Rainbow Theater, Noche de
Artistas and the Multicultural Festival in Santa Cruz. She loves to be challenged and to challenge
others. [email protected]
César A. Cruz
Is a human rights freedom fighter from Jalisco, Mexico. Currently, César teaches for the
Peaceful Schools Project of the Bay Area in San Pablo, CA. He serves as a member of Pacifica
Radio's Program Council at KPFA in Berkeley, CA. He has just become the new Director of Youth
Ministries at Albany Community Church in the Bay Area. As a poet, César is a co-founder of
the ENDdependence Collective and has recently released a spoken word CD entitled
"Lyrical Demonstration." You can pick up his cd at: www.teolol.com
You can also reach Cesar via email at: [email protected]
Mark Gonzales -
A member of the original End-Dependence tour, Mark is a spoken word artist and prison
abolitionist currently infiltrating UC Riverside as a student. Raised by his father since 1989,
Mark moved from Alaska to Colorado, then to California. As a member of the 2001 Long Beach
West Coast Slam Champions, Mark witnessed the power of words to move masses and dedicated
himself to doing so. As founder of the Civil Writes Project, he assists in the development
of radical methods of re-education through spoken word based curriculum; as co-founder of
The Non-Prophets Poets, he works with at-risk youths to emphasize self-expression as a form
of self-actualization; as a member of Mic and Dim Lights Alumni, he travels nationally with
other artists to universities, conferences, and classrooms to advocate Social Justice via
spoken word and the arts. "Poetry is more than art, it is audio liberation. For we are the
voices that will no longer subject themselves to the state violence of silence."
Gabriela López (a.k.a. Sasparella) -
Mexicana artist/actor/writer, was born and raised in Norwalk, CA in an artistic and musical family.
Writing has been her main form of self expression all her life, and was a member of the original
End-Dependence Tour. She has been published in a few anthologies throught the years, has
participated and conducted writing workshops and open mics in Whittier and presented a motivational
arts workshop for high school girls at the "1st Annual Young Women's Empowerment Day" at Rio Hondo
College. In 2001, she released her first self-produced poetry cd, "Sasparella: Words & Music" with
the help of music producer Shug. She has performed her work most recently at CASA 0101. Currently
she's developing a performance art piece for TeAda Theater Productions titled
"Apparitions of the Virgin Mary" scheduled to open late August. When she's not writing and
performing, Gabriela also co-owns a graphic design firm, Soap Design Co. in Los Angeles. She would
like to thank the END-dependence Collective for their continuing inspiration and collabo!
You can pick up her cd at: www.teolol.com.
Contact: [email protected] / 213.842.6817
Charles (Bomani) Watson currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Born and raised in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, he first began writing as substitute for conversations he didn’t have with his father as
a youth. Sharing his stage time as a performance poet, he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering.
Bomani is also a photographer and member of A Mic and Dim Lights collective traveling the U.S.
performing spokenword in various cities. His writing encompasses a unique blend of social-politics,
reality, fantasy, hip-hop, and love. He is currently working on several spokenword projects including
his own CD.
Is a Chinese American poet from the Bay Area scene. Born in '83 and raised in Union City, CA,
he grew up with the steadfast principles of capitalism, social acceptance, and success through
standardized evaluation, institutionalized deep within his persona until his unleashed passion
for poetry and spoken word woke him up from the Amerikan Dream and helped transform him into the
raving yellow-skinned nightmare he is today. His newfound perspective in life was nourished
through running with the L.A.V.I.S.H. (Lifeforms Achieving Valence in Shaping Hip-hop)
family, and he is now also an affiliate of the Youth-Speaks Bay Area spoken word organization
and CAPAA (Council of Asian Pacific American Affairs). Adriel was a finalist in the 2002 Bay
Area Youth Poetry Slam. His current projects include working on his solo debut album,
The Life and Depth of Adriel Luis, and his first chapbook, Cutloose. When he is not looking
for love in the Bay or within the restlessness of himself, Adriel can be found at the
University of California, Davis, working on his Bachelor of Sciences in Community and
Regional Development, with a certificate in Asian American Studies.
Carlos "Solrac" Mena-
Grew up in a musical family and always made poems. It wasn't until he found hiphop that he understood
how much more powerful the two were together than alone. Born in Puerto Rico, raised in Brooklyn,
he spent part of every summer with relatives in the Dominican Republic, soaking up the vast array of
sounds and musical idioms he naturally folds into a kind of personal hiphop fusion. The layered sounds
of a Brooklyn block on a summer evening led him to the sonic experiments that make his new CD, HipHop
Meditations, as original as it is affecting. Solrac started spinning at fourteen, back when the hits
and his own tastes lined up perfectly. New York in the 80s found him Djing house, salsa, and hiphop,
sometimes on the same night. With a move to California in '89, he added reggae to the mix, and joined
the hiphop trio 10Bass T as emcee and producer. The group beat out more than 300 other local bands for
a spot on the Lollapalooza tour, and went on to open locally for the Fugees, Counting Crows, Roots,
Shoenen Knife and other well known bands. Solrac's first efforts as a producer brought forth 10Bass
T's debut album, Do You Know the Way? In 2001, he built himself a home studio and founded his own
Oakland-based CASAMENA label. Seven months later, his first solo album, HipHop Meditations, started
getting heard for the first time. Featuring world-renowned bata drummer Michael Spiro, as well as
up-and-coming Bay Area talent, the CD is an audacious blend of contemporary street idioms, cool
Buddhist flutes, and the ideas and rhythms of the Yoruba and Lucumi religious traditions, of soul,
social criticism, and self humor. The result is soothing and challenging in equal measure, a record
to live with for a long time. Currently touring the US on its behalf, Solrac is polishing his chops
as entertainer/provocateur. He has also recently received an artistic fellowship grant from the
City of Oakland for his work on HipHop Meditations. A generous and riveting performer, he's not too
shy to tell you that while he makes you dance, he also wants to save your soul.
Is a Xicano slam poet from the Bay Area who is taking UC Santa Cruz by storm. He has been raised
to be a human rights freedom fighter. His no holds barred approach both inspires and gives hope
to the youth. He is not afraid to bring it 'on the real' and is willing to put his body on the
line to even shut down the infamous "School of the Assassins (Americas)."
GusTavo Adolfo Guerra Vásquez, a.k.a. Tavo -
Is a multi-disciplinary artist born in Guatemala City and raised both (t)here and Los Angeles,
California. He is currently moonlighting as a graduate student in the Comparative Ethnic
Studies Doctoral program at UC Berkeley so the kind of writing he does is for the most part
academic, but he needs to be creative in order to purge himself of all the negativity in this
world and be able to survive the madness that surrounds us. Tavo believes in social change as
an art form as well art as a tool for social change. He has produced various pieces-written,
visual and performative -on the injustices that many different peoples face in this country and
around the world. [email protected]
Michaelle D'Jenane Ventura (AKA: aLpHa6)
Reppin the LA area, Michaelle D'Jenane writes for the people. Her writing stems from personal
and worldly experiences that have created the person she is today. She strives to encourage the
youth of this world to write and create their own freedom of expressions so that their voices
can be heard in this place of loud, obsolete, biased noise. A transfer student from UC Santa Cruz,
currently attending UC Riverside, Michaelle D'Jenane integrates her mixed racial background
(Mexican, Chinese, Portuguese & Blackfoot Indian) as a premise to express understanding and pride
as a Womyn of color. She has had her poetry published in UC Santa Cruz's 2002 collective publication
"La Revistas" and artwork displayed in "Las Girlfriends." In creating often raw and direct poetry,
Michaelle D'Jenane seeks to tackle societal issues full on in the hopes of opening doors for others
to do the same. You can catch this mujer doing everything from writing verses on store receipts while
driving to sewing up fits that break commonality. With the influence of hip hop, jazz, East La rolas,
and rock music, this female writes with the passion that so many had before her with the beat of
indigenous drums in her heart... [email protected]
Ruby Veridiano, a.k.a. Tali Amani -
Although Ruby is new to the spoken word scene, her work isn't any indication of it. Her
ability to intertwine words to paint images makes her poetry not just a joy to hear, but also
to visualize. Influenced by her awe of underground hip-hop, she transcends the beauty of its
culture through her writing and performance. Ruby has also begun tapping into her Filipina roots,
taking her own experiences, as well as her developing knowledge of her culture and background to
scribe poetry that is as personal as it is beautiful.