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.
For more information, email SLAM@splitthisrock.org
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, 2016, 2017, and 2018 teams 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.”
Follow the team on all social media @DCyouthSLAM
The 2018 DC Youth Slam Team
Left to right at top: Dani Miller and Marjan Naderi | Middle photo: Ma'issa Wright-Kerr | Left to right at bottom: Aniyah Smith and Mary Kamara
The 2017 DC Youth Slam Team
Left to right: Tika Wallace, Aniyah Smith, Gaelyn Smith (2017 Team Coach), Joseph Smith (Split This Rock Youth Programs Director), Kenny Carroll, and Dion Harrison
Check out the team at Brave New Voices on YouTube.
The 2016 DC Youth Slam Team
From left to right: Eliamani Ismail, Gaeyln Smith, Bobbi Johnson, and Zahra Wardrick. Additionally, Cedric Harper was selected for the team but did not compete at Brave New Voices that year. (Photo by Outlier Imagery)
Visit YouTube to check out Bobbi Johnson at Semi-Finals and the team's group poem at Finals of Brave New Voices in 2016.
The 2015 DC Youth Slam Team
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
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 (Photo by Outlier Imagery)
The 2013 DC Youth Slam Team
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
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
From L to R: Lauryn Nesbitt, Alexis Franklin, Kayla McAfee, Kosi Dunn, and Selina Johnson (squatting near center)
Coaches YaYa Bey (on left sitting) and Safia Elhillo (on far right standing) also in picture.
Video of the DC Youth Slam Team