Lu Aya graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Public Health and Healing and with a Minor in Latin American and Latino Studies. Post graduation, he designed programs that incorporate art, human rights, and public health to facilitate community building workshops focused on peace and justice in 15 countries (Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Sudan, Kenya, Niger, Liberia, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Afghanistan, India and Nepal). Lu Aya is a trainer with The Wildfire Project where he leads interactive popular pedagogy sessions with frontline grassroots organizations nationally. Lu Aya offers training on composing and leading poignant, beautiful, accessible songs to guide social movements in becoming more effective, inspiring and sustainable. Luke is an active member of several local community justice organizations in The Bronx and he continues to work at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center where he has been teaching and learning poetry with the teenagers in his neighborhood since 2008.
THE LAST EMCEE
Enmanuel Candelario graduated from Fordham University and wrote his thesis on Urban Studies and Spoken Word Poetry. His Political Science and Urban Studies background served as a foundations for his 6 years of youth development work at BHSS as a full time chapter leader offering 24-hour service and support to his young people. For many of the youth in BHSS’ program, chapter leaders such as Enmanuel, are the sole consistent adult figures in their lives. At BHSS, Enmanuel mentored youth weekly, facilitated workshops guiding members in becoming critical thinkers and community leaders, and organized annual retreats that provided many chapter members with their first opportunity in nature and outside the walls of New York City. Enmanuel continues to collaborate with his alma mater to offer Spoken Word poetry classes to underrepresented and economically disadvantaged young people who are preparing for tracks in higher education.
Abraham Velazquez, Jr., is a youth worker at The Brotherhood/ Sister Sol. While completing his Master of Arts degree in Educational Theatre at NYU, Abraham studied Theatre of the Oppressed with Julian Boal in New York City, Barbara Santos in Berlin, Germany, and Sanjoy Ganguly in Badu and Kolkata, India. Abraham has facilitated his Rapademics and Instruments of Peace curricula with youth throughout The Bay Area, California and NYC. Abraham has trained educators and organizers nationally and abroad at Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (Santander, Spain), La Casa Encendida (Madrid, Spain), The Cross Border Project in (Valladolid, Spain), El Simposio de Hip Hop Cubano (Havana, Cuba), and Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, Germany) on how to engage communities in social justice and personal transformation through drama, poetry, and Hip Hop. In 2007, Abraham toured his one-person production, Born Again! The Life of Richard F. Nicks throughout New York City, and authored the chapbooks Libra Libre and Thoughts From a Prophet. In November 2015, Abraham released his first solo album, A South Bronx Tale LP, which was engineered by Grammy Award recipient, Mikaelin “Blue” Bluespruce.
Frantz Jerome graduated from The New School earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Writing and Democracy. He creates and implement curricula guiding youth in exploring and analyzing media literacy at The Brotherhood/ Sister Sol and Harlem Children’s Zone. Frantz is an author for the pop, nerd, and geek cultural editorial, Black Nerd Problems. As an ensemble member of 2050 Legacy, Frantz collaborated with The Hemispheric Institute and participated in the academic conference and performance festival, Encuentro, where nearly 700 artists, educators, and activists gathered in cultural exchange and dialogues in São Paulo, Brazil (2013) and Montreal, Canada (2014). In 2010, Frantz was invited to perform Spoken Word poetry by 3 time Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Awards recipient, civil rights leader, Harry Belafonte, to participate in The Interdependance Day Conference sponsored by DEMOS in Berlin, Germany.
Frank Lopez has woven the knowledge of his BFA earned at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his years of film experience with poetry to teach youth throughout New York City, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ireland, and Singapore as a facilitator for his alma mater’s Tisch Special Programs. Frank was director of photography & editor on the pilot episode of the docu-reality series, M1’s The Message, featured on VICE Creators, as Mutulu Olugbala (M1) interviews contemporary artist Joey Bada$$ to offer a message to future generations that transcends the musical genre of Hip Hop. In 2006 and 2009, Frank was nominated for the prestigious NYU Oliver Stone Screenwriting Award for overachievement in the field of storytelling.