Tria Andrews is a PhD Candidate in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley and a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at San Diego State University. Her dissertation work compares colonial education paradigms with the culturally-relevant curricula at a tribally-run juvenile detention facility to ask how Native thinkers have moved to innovate tribal programs for youth. This research is informed by over seven years of tutoring and teaching yoga to incarcerated adolescents. In addition to writing her dissertation, Tria is working on a collection of poetry entitled Dead Center of the Heart, which highlights the experiences of Native Americans and Filipinos as a result of U.S. colonial policies and their legacies. Tria founded the Race and Yoga Working Group through the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley and is the co-founder and co-facilitator for Race and Yoga Journal. In 2014, Tria will serve as a guest-editor for As/Us Journal and UCLA’s The American Indian Culture and Research Journal featuring writing by people who are incarcerated. Tria has taught courses for Poetry for the People, Prison University Project, Sinte Gleska University, UC Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco. In 2012, Tria was a Ford Foundation Fellow and Fulbright Scholar.
AXIS Dance Company is one of the world’s leading and most innovative ensembles of dancers with and without disabilities. Paving the way for physically integrated dance, AXIS shares its cutting edge artistic and education/outreach work with thousands annually all over the world. AXIS Dance Company has been featured twice on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. Founded in 1987, AXIS emerged at a time when the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement were gaining stride and the dance community was just beginning to open its doors to people with disabilities. Judith Smith, the Artistic Director of AXIS, has been dramatically expanding the company’s education and outreach efforts and collaborating with leading contemporary choreographers and composers, including Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio, Joe Goode, Victoria Marks, Ann Carlson, Margaret Jenkins, Sonya Delwaide, Alex Ketley, David Dorfman, Meredith Monk, and Joan Jeanrenaud.
Over the last 35 years Carolyn Brandy has become a legendary SF Bay Area percussionist, educator, and cultural worker. She has been visionary in her quest to bring women into the world of percussion and drumming, and is one of the foremothers of the Movement of Women Drummers and the non-profit organization Women Drummers International. She was a co-founder of the Jazz Quintet Alive! Founded Sistah Boom, and she is the co-creator of Born To Drum Women’s Camp for Women Drummers. Carolyn has been an educator in public schools, prisons, and workshops all over the country. Carolyn has traveled and studied extensively in her adopted country, Cuba, and has organized many Drum and Dance Tours that have traveled the length of the island.
Melanie DeMore is one of the most outstanding vocal artists of today helping to preserve the African American Folk Tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding. She was the subject of a documentary called "Stick and Pound," which showcases this tradition. She has a career spanning 30 years dedicated to teaching, lecturing, mentoring, conducting, directing and inspiring children and adults about the power of song as social and political change. Melanie is a sought after presenter, conductor and soloist at national and international choral and music festivals, including Festival 500 in Newfoundland, Canada and Chorus America. She is adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies, lead teaching artist for TEMPO at UC Berkeley, and a featured presenter for SpeakOut! the Institute for Social and Cultural Change. She was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, and has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such varied artists as Odetta, Richey Havens, Pete Seeger, the Trinity Choir, MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Chorus and many others. Melanie is a singer/songwriter, composer, conductor, and vocal activist, who believes in the power of voices raised together.
The Destiny Junior Company (DJC) is a rigorous training ground in dance, theater and performance for youth ages 9-12, modeled after the acclaimed Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, a teen dance/theater company that creates original performance art pieces, in collaboration with professional artists, that combine hip hop, modern, and aerial dance, theater, martial arts, rap and song. Both companies are a dynamic, creative forum for the young people to express their fears, hopes, and strategies for confronting challenging personal and social issues. The companies come out of Destiny Arts Center, an Oakland-based nonprofit violence prevention and arts education organization that has been serving youth for over 25 years through after-school, weekend and summer programs in dance, theater, martial arts, self-defense, performance, and youth leadership, both at the center and in up to 45 Bay Area public schools annually. Destiny Junior Company’s Artistic Director is Mika Lemoine, a Destiny alum and a current Destiny hip hop instructor.
Maya Kronfeld is a pianist and keyboardist who has performed in major jazz and popular music venues all around the US and abroad, and is in frequent collaboration with Bay-Area bred luminary vocalists such as Zoe Ellis, Destani Wol, Natalie Joh and Valerie Troutt, with whom she has an inspiring duo project titled Two Shoes Shouting. Maya has toured nationally with Grammy award winning artist Van Hunt and with drummer Thomas Pridgen’s project The Memorials, and appeared recently at the Aarhus International Jazz Festival in Denmark. As an educator, Maya as been a faculty member at Cazadero Music Camp and Jam Camp Wes. She plays weekly at Independent Community Church in Richmond. Maya is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley. She has recently given talks on jazz and critical theory, modernist poetry and Anglo-American philosophy at the Sorbonne Paris III and at the University of Dublin, where she participated in the international conference Marxism, Music & the Frankfurt School.
Blu Wakpa (Itázipčho, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ; Tsehitcihéndé, Ndéé; Rarámuri) received a Master’s in American Indian Studies and a PhD in Education from the University of Arizona. His research interests are at the intersection of ethnic studies education, Indigenous language revitalization, and anti-oppression facilitation. He currently serves as the Executive Director for Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPIRIT), an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples. SSPIRIT’s work takes multiple forms, including decolonizing Native American mascots in the Bay Area. Blu Wakpa has extensive training in embodied practices: hip hop performance, martial arts, and the traditional lingua franca of Turtle Island, North American Hand Talk.
Marvin K. White is a Masters of Divinity student at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and pastoral intern at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. Marvin is the author of four collections of poetry, Our Name Be Witness, Status, Last Rights and Nothin’ Ugly Fly. He is an editor, poet, psalmist, performer, playwright, visual artist, community arts organizer, and seminarian. In community, Marvin K. White is articulating a vision of social and creative justice through being a writer, spiritual leader, artist, activist, community organizer, homemaker, cake baker, caregiver, and Facebook statistician.