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Rasha Abdulhadi | Executive Director
Rasha Abdulhadi is a queer Palestinian Southerner who grew up between Damascus, Syria and rural Georgia and cut their teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. Rasha brings more than 17 years' experience in strategic planning and organizational development for racial, economic, and environmental justice movements. They have worked as a popular educator, cultural organizer, community technologist, farmer, and bookstore manager. Their writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Mslexia, Mizna, Room, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Plume, and |tap| magazine and is anthologized in Halal if You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019), Super Stoked (Capturing Fire, 2018), and the Hugo-nominated Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler (Twelfth Planet Press, 2017). Alongside Sheree Renée Thomas and Erin Roberts, Rasha co-edited a special edition of Strange Horizons featuring speculative fiction by writers of color from the Southeastern US. Rasha is the author of chapbook Shell Houses (The Head & The Hand, 2017).
Rasha has received fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, and Split This Rock and is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers and Justice for Muslims healing collective. Rasha serves on the Executive Committee of Alternate ROOTS, a 43-year-old member-led arts organization with its origin in Southern Freedom movements. As a practitioner of traditional Palestinian embroidery, Rasha's work is a commitment to bridging communities through the ways we remember, tell stories about, and remake our daily lives.
Photo by Dina Abdulhadi
Chelsea Iorlano | Director of Youth Programs
Chelsea Iorlano is Split This Rock’s Director of Youth Programs. At Split This Rock, Chelsea draws on her personal experience as a poet and professional experiences working with youth who are under-supported to provide high quality programs to young people in the DC metro area. Chelsea believes in the power of poetry to express and celebrate difference and build power to transform individuals and communities. With an academic background in English & Creative Writing focused on poetry, Chelsea has gained experience in the nonprofit sector, including volunteer and program management at For Love of Children, and fundraising and development at Asian American LEAD. Chelsea applies her beliefs and experiences to cultivate spaces in which young people can thrive, lead, and empower their communities. In her free time, Chelsea finds joy and solace in listening to music, reading, and journaling.
Camisha Jones | Managing Director
Camisha L. Jones is Split This Rock’s Managing Director. Camisha has over 20 years experience as a program planner at non-profits and institutions of higher education. Programs she has led have focused on anti-bias dialogue, volunteer coordination, leadership development, youth enrichment, and community building. Camisha is the author of Flare (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Her poems – which often center experiences of hearing loss, chronic pain, gender, and race – can be found at The New York Times, Poets.org, Button Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Typo, The Quarry, and elsewhere. She is also published at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, as well as in Let’s Get Real: What People of Color Can’t Say and Whites Won’t Ask about Racism (StirFry Seminars & Consulting, Inc., 2011), Class Lives: Stories from Across Our Economic Divide (ILR Press, 2014), and The Day Tajon Got Shot (Shout Mouse Press, 2017). She is Franklin & Marshall College’s 2017 Lapine Poetry Fellow, one of The Loft Literary Center's 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellows, and a Fellow of The Watering Hole. She competed at the 2013 National Poetry Slam with Slam Richmond. Find her on Facebook as Poet Camisha Jones, on Twitter as @1Camisha, on Instagram as @1camisha, and online at her blog.
Photo by Brandon Woods
Alexandria Petrassi | Communications & Development Associate
Alexandria Petrassi received her MFA in poetry from George Mason University, where she served as Editor in Chief of So to Speak Journal and Lead Editorial Intern at Poetry Daily. She has worked as a digital communications specialist and copywriter in diverse content areas -- from DIY crafting to health care. She is the winner of the 2018 Mary Roberts Rhinehart Award in Poetry, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, SWWIM Every Day, CALAMITY, Crab Fat Magazine, and Sweet Tree Review, among others. In her spare time, Alexandria loves to garden, visit green spaces, read in her library, travel, and spend time with her partner and their dog. You can find her on Instagram: @alexandriapetra.
Photo by Benjamin Renne
Emeritus Staff Members
Split This Rock's Founding Executive Director: Sarah Browning
Sarah Browning is the author of Killing Summer (Sibling Rivalry, 2017) and Whiskey in the Garden of Eden (The Word Works, 2007). She is a co-founder of Split This Rock and served as its Executive Director from its inception until January 2019. An Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, Sarah is the recipient of artist fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Adirondack Center for Writing, and the Creative Communities Initiative. She has been guest editor or co-edited special issues of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Delaware Poetry Review, and Poetry magazine. From 2006 until January 2019, Browning co-hosted the Sunday Kind of Love Reading & Open Mic poetry series at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC. She previously worked supporting socially engaged women artists with WomenArts and developing creative writing workshops with low-income women and youth with Amherst Writers & Artists. She has been an organizer in public housing communities and a grassroots political organizer on a host of social and political issues.
M.F. Simone Roberts
M. F. Simone Roberts worked as Managing Editor of The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database. Roberts is an independent scholar of poetics and feminist phenomenology, poet, editor, and activist. Her poems appear in Revue/Post and Poets Reading the News, and soon in Literary Nest and other journals. She is co-editor of the anthology Iris Murdoch and the Moral Imagination: Essays and author of the critical monograph A Poetics of Being-Two: Irigaray's Ethics and Post-Symbolist Poetics. She tweets and ‘grams sporadically at @pomored.
Photo by Alexandria Petrassi