To: Green Earth Poets Cafe Board of Directors
Re: July 18, 2015 Rikers Island Prison Poetry performance
It gives me great pleasure to report to you the results of “No more silent voices” poetry program today at Rikers Island. 17 artists and poets shared their gifts of poetry, comedy, spoken word and music with the inmates of the GRVC facility at Rikers Island. We got off to a slow start , but after everyone arrived we had 17 artists ready and willing to perform. The program was run by program director Quindell Quev Evans who opened , followed by Cellist extraordinaire Sonia Choi with guitarist Johnny Sansone. Unfortunately the other guitarist Randy Class who came to perform lost his ID before coming to the prison this very morning, so he was unable to enter the prison. I wish to especially recognize Randy’s effort and hope he will return to Rikers with us in the future. I wish to thank Green Earth Poets Phoenix Poetically Inclined Reign for her passion, gift of poetry and power. Thank you Allahsha Skipper aka Poetry Queen for your dedication and poetic gift. Taneeka Lanay Wilder is such a humble spirit filled poet and artist whose presence always brings a peace which passes all understanding. Today we celebrated our one year anniversary of poetry performances at Rikers Island. It all started July 2014 and we we fortunate to have one of the finest artists, who came with us in the first group in July 2014. We give a special thank you to Melech Distinguish Meir. We also thank and welcome a number of artist who came with Green Earth Poets Cafe to Rikers Island for the first time. We thank the phenomenal Dave D’Vision who had the incarcerated figuratively speak to their 12 year old self and speak words which will help that child thrive and survive. We also welcome new comers Nicholas Nichols, Nushepsura Jones (18 yrs old) ,and Nyah Lastra. Nyah is someone to watch out for, this lady amazed the inmates with her recitation of poetry, simply amazing. We also welcomed new comer Nicole Najmah Abraham whose eloquence, poetic fervor ,and style is nothing short of amazing. I would be remiss if I did not thank and recognize the gift of some of the veterans who have graced our Rikers stage and consistently give back to these young people who happen to be incarcerated. Among these vets are Adrian Elias, his sister Mela Elias, the comedy of Mutiya S-Vision, whose comedy gets better and better and funnier and funnier. I also thank Green Earths Poet Author Press whose flute playing is just as great as his poetry. Today he demonstrated both. Today we also paused for 20 second to honor young Kalief Browder, the young man who committed suicide because of his experience at Rikers Island. Today we believed we reached some of the young men and hopefully encouraged and inspired them to make better choices with their lives and to remind them they are loved. Lastly a few of the inmates were inspired to join us spitting a few bars, or singing a song or two. One young man in particular spoke of suicide before he performed a spoken word piece which was simply amazing. His speech alarmed a few of our artists who took the time to specifically focus their attention on him. Thank you Dave for your leadership. I hope we reached him also.
Green Earth Poets Cafe.
June 6, 2015-Green Earth Poets Cafe visited Rikers Island prison to conduct our program called “No silent voices”. Today 11 poets came to perform at the GRVC center at Rikers Island. One of them was Legacee. This is her experience of the day in her own words.
“MY NAME IS LEGACEE NOT WITH A Y BUT 2 E’S BECAUSE I DONT QUESTION LIFE I MOVE WITH IT.
IF YOU DONT FEED THE MASSES THEY WILL FOREVER STARVE…..
I AM SPIRITUALLY BLESSED AND EMOTIONALLY EXCITED. TODAY I WENT AND SPOKE TO SOME YOUNG MEN ON RIKERS ISLAND. TO LOOK AT THE FACES OF THOSE 24 YOUNG MEN, I KNEW THEY NEEDED TO HEAR THE REAL STORY. SO I TOLD MY OWN.
I ALMOST CRIED WHEN ON OF THESE YOUNG MEN GOT UP AND SAID “LEGACEE INSPIRED ME” I FELT THE PAIN IN HIS WORDS BUT I ALSO FELT THE HOPE IN HIS HEART. THE GROUP OF PEOPLE I WENT WITH WERE AMAZING IN THEIR ON RIGHT..
I WAS ANGRY,HURT,SAD AND CONFUSED FRIDAY. FOR TODAY TO PROVIDE SO MUCH HAPPINESS AND JOY IN MY LIFE. I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON OUR YOUTH EVER!! I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON OUR YOUTH EEEEVVVEEERR! YES THEY ARE HARD ND HARD HEADED, BUT THESE BABIES NEED TO HEAR THEY VOICES BE HEARD.
TODAY I LISTENED AND I NOW MY PURPOSE. I WILL NOT QUESTION MY LIFE JOURNEY. I’M GOING TO KEEP MOVING WITH IT. SO PLEASE DO NOT STAND IN MY TURNING MY LANE.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Curtis Harris AND AS WELL AS YOUR TEAM. I HAVEN’T FELT THIS AWAKENING IN A LONG TIME. I FELT I LIVED MY DREAM AS A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER TODAY. NOT ONLY INMATES LIVES WERE CHANGE MINES WAS AS WELL.”
Mr. Curtis Harris hats off to you and. Ms. Relle Benz and to all of the teen poets that participated, they truly “SpokeFiyah”. I think I saw smoke coming out of the mike a few times. I was mesmerized, revolutionized,baptized and moved to tears by these amazing, trailblazing young people. It takes a village ( old african proverb) and I was honored to bear witness to these fearless warrior Prince and Princess’ who bared their thoughts, feelings,trials and triumphs.Although I am the mother of one of the participants and very proud of her accomplishments,sitting in the audience “listening” too and “feeling” the poets love and pain, I felt like I was mother to all of them. Curtis Harris, Relle Benz, Press and all the other Green Poets Cafe staff/family I thank you for the encouragement, mentoring and love you are giving to “our” youth.
Taneeka L. Wilder
Poem In Your Pocket Facilitated by Green Earth Poets Café
Weeksville Heritage Center 1-2:30pmApril 18, 2015 Saturday
Green Earth Poets Café exists to promote literacy, self confidence, communication, community, and educational development among young people in economically challenged areas of NYC through performing arts. The workshop will be led by Brooklyn-based Spoken Word Poet, Quindell “Quev” Evans. Families can come and take part in the art of sharing poetry with the community.
Mar 27, 2015- Green Earth Poets Cafe was honored to be one of the hosts and guest performers of the Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Awards and Reception. The event held Friday at the First Baptist Church in Crown Heights Brooklyn, was a very successful event curated by NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton III. In addition, other hosts included Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, NYC Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo 35th CD, NYS Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and District Leader Shirley Patterson (a candidate for the NYS Assembly 43 AD) .
Nine distinguished women were celebrated and awarded women of excellence awards, including the first lady of NYC Chirlane McCray. I congratulate Senator Hamilton on curating and celebrating such wonderful women of excellence. Truly a memorable women’s history month special event. There was electricity in the air as many of our mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, and wives were in attendance and were also celebrated. Pictured is NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton III, Green Earth Poets Cafe’s Executive Director Curtis Harris, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. Happy women’s her-story month 2015.
Mar 7, 2015-Green Earth Poets Cafe celebrated the 50th anniversary of the march over the Edmund Pettus bridge in Alabama for voting, civil, and human rights for African Americans here in the United States by marching with others over the Brooklyn bridge Mar 7, 2015. At the invitation of the honorable Eric Adams Brooklyn Borough President, he led the march over the Brooklyn bridge in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the event called “Bloody Sunday” an event which marked the turn of the voting rights movement giving black people in this country the full right to vote. Green Earth Poets Cafe was represented by its Executive Director Curtis Harris, Poet Sweet Aminata, and Community Board #8 youth and family services committee chair Akosua.