"Create safe spaces for our people to share their stories. I needed that myself. I needed it my whole life. I'm a black man and in the world people look at me and there is an assumption. And it doesn't acknowledge I can be anybody. It's not a curiosity, it's a fear. It's important for me to tell my story just like young people who get typecast."
CJ is the co-founder of Sacrificial Poets, a spoken word poetry arts education organization that uses the power of poetry to empower youth and transform lives. Sacrificial Poets serves as a conduit for those who might not be heard in their everyday lives. Founded in 2005 (formerly the Chapel Hill Slam Team), the organization serves elementary, middle, high-school and college-aged youth across the state via performances, poetry workshops and innovative arts education curriculum. Each year Sacrificial Poets selects six youth to participate in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival where young poets and spoken word artists convene among peers to learn and perform. The festival has been featured on HBO, MTV an NPR.
(photographs taken at Johnny's Gone Fishing, on Main Street in Carrboro)