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The DC Youth Poetry Slam Team

SPLIT THIS ROCK'S DC YOUTH SLAM TEAM uses poetry to teach and empower teens from the DC metropolitan area to speak up about issues of social justice. With annual travel to regional and national poetry slam festivals, such as Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, the team provides outstanding opportunities, training, and a platform for talented youth to develop their writing, performance, and public speaking skills with guidance from mentors and teaching artists.

The team is a year-long program for students in DC and the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia (affectionately called the DMV area). Students must currently be enrolled in middle or high school and live in the area to be eligible for the team.

Interested in joining the team? The qualifying slams for the 2017 team are happening now. Youth interested in competing for a chance to be on the team should check out the upcoming events page for the schedule. Feel free to review the team info form to get acquainted with what the intake process is like. A version of the form in Word is also available here. For more information, email

The DC Youth Slam Team at Brave New Voices

The DC Youth Slam Team has a notable history at Brave New Voices. In 2013, the team placed 2nd and one of its poems has now been viewed close to 2 million times on Youtube. The team took 1st place at the 2014 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. Read about their win on our News From Split This Rock page. Watch videos of the team (select videos marked "Washington, DC") at finals that year on Youth Speaks Youtube channel. The 2015 team advanced to Semi-Finals. The festival is about more than just the competition though. As the slam mantra coined by Allan Wolf goes: “The points are not the point; the point is poetry.”

Hear from one of our students about the Brave New Voices experience.

Brave New Voices comes to DC this year and the team will compete on home turf! Check out the Brave New Voices page to read more about the competition and how you can get involved.

Split This Rock teen poets and adult teaching artists are available to perform, teach, facilitate workshops, and host events.

For booking inquiries: email Youth Programs Coordinator, Joseph Green at or call 202.787.5279.

Follow the team on all social media @DCyouthSLAM

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The 2015 DC Youth Slam Team

2015 team photo in front of african art museum

From L to R: Quintin Paschall, Gaelyn Smith, Elexia Alleyne, Nesha Ruther, Henry Lozano, Milen Mehari, Kenya Newsome, Hannah Smallwood, Tajai Williams, Shayla Johnson, Cedric Harper, and Bobbi Johnson


The 2014 DC Youth Slam Team

2014 team at BNV champs

Alphabetical: Abbey Pechman, Ayinde Sekou, Amina Iro*, Chyna McCombs, CiCi Felton, Eric Powell, Jr.*, Hannah Halpern*, Kenny Hahn, Lauren May, Malachi Byrd, Mariam Coker*, Morgan Butler, Quintin Paschall, Rodney Johnson, Tajai Williams, Thomas Hill


The 2013 DC Youth Slam Team

team photo from 2013 BNV

From L to R: Ayinde Grimes, Lauren May, CiCi Felton, Kosi Dunn, Reina Privado, Eric Powell Jr, Hannah Halpern, Amina Iro, Thomas Hill, Asha Gardner, Malachi Byrd, and Jordana Rubenstein-Edberg (not pictured)


The 2012 DC Youth Slam Team

2012 team photo

From L to R: Asha Gardner, Alexis Franklin, Kayla McAfee, Tiana Minter-El, Mariam Coker, Lauryn Nesbitt, Eric Powell Jr, Kosi Dunn, Jesse Ferrell, Olivia Weltz, Scotty Williams


The 2011 DC Youth Slam Team

2011 team photo

From L to R: Lauryn Nesbitt, Alexis Franklin, Kayla McAfee, Kosi Dunn, and Selina Johnson

Coaches YaYa Bey and Safia Elhillo also in picture.


Video of the DC Youth Slam Team