We (Too) Are Philly: Whose Schools, Our Schools!




Trapeta Mayson



Trapeta B. Mayson has extensive experience as an artist and a leader in nonprofits and social services. She is a native of Liberia. Her family immigrated to America when she was in elementary school. As an artist, she has been awarded a Pew Fellowship in Literature and a Leeway Transformation Award, among others. Trapeta is widely published and has performed and conducted writing workshop in schools, institutions and communities as a teaching artist and workshop leader.

Trapeta is a graduate of Temple University, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and Villanova University School of Business. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been the Executive Director of Historic Germantown since 2014, a partnership organization serving historic sites in Northwest Philadelphia that works collaboratively to preserve its extraordinary historic assets, increase access, interpret them to the public and raise their visibility.

Prior to Historic Germantown, Trapeta has served as Vice President of Education and Family Learning at Please Touch Museum, Social Work Supervisor at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Senior Director of Children and Adolescent Services at a large community mental health center. Trapeta is on the Board of the Friends of Joseph E. Coleman Regional Library and the Germantown Service Services District. She lives in Germantown and is a member of the Greene Street Artist Cooperative.


Ginger Ko



Ginger Ko is a graduate student at the University of Georgia, where she teaches writing and Women’s Studies. She is the author of Motherlover (Bloof Books), Inherit (Sidebrow), Comorbid (Lark Books), and Ghosts, Models, Visions (Bloof Books). Her poetry and essays can be found in American Poetry ReviewThe OffingVIDA Review, and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.gingerko.com


Kai Davis



Kai Davis is a writer, performer and teaching artist from Philadelphia. In 2016 she received her Bachelors in both African American Studies and English. Between 2012 and 2016 Kai Davis was the Artistic Director of The Babel Poetry Collective. She has performed for TEDX Philly, CNN, BET, PBS, and NPR, among others. She is a two time international grand slam champion, winning Brave New Voices in 2011 and The College Union Poetry Slam Invitational in 2016. She is a 2017 Leeway Transformation Award Recipient.

Right now she spends most of her time working as Poetry Editor for Apiary Magazine and as an Organizer/Artistic Director for The Philly Pigeon. She also visits high schools and local non profit organizations, teaching poetry to marginalized and under-served young folk. When she is not in Philly, she tours colleges and universities across the country, performing her original work and facilitating writing workshops.

As a Queer Woman of Color, much of her work deals with the topics of race, gender, power, sexuality and its many layers. She aims to explore how it affects who we are, who we will become, and how we love.


Porsha Olayiwola



Porsha Olayiwola is the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and 2015 National Poetry Slam Champion. Black, poet, queer-dyke, hip-hop feminist, womanist: Porsha is a native of Chicago who now resides in Boston where she organizes, writes and teaches. Porsha co-founded The House Slam, Boston’s first poetry slam venue and coaches their award winning poetry slam team. In 2018, Porsha was named by GK100 as one of Boston’s Most Influential People of Color. She is the Artistic Director at MassLEAP, a literary non-profit organization in Massachusetts serving youth artists.

A Create Well grantee, Olayiwola is releasing a choreopoem and theatrical production entitled Black & Ugly as Ever in the fall of 2018. She is an MFA Candidate at Emerson College. As an artist, Porsha writes infra-politically to tell the stories that are silenced, erased, or difficult to release from the tip of the tongue. She has a book forthcoming in January 2019 with Button Poetry. Her goal is to maintain a cipher of self that is uncontrollable, undocumented and just plain ole dope.


Marwa Helal



Marwa Helal is a poet and journalist. Her work appears in Apogee, Hyperallergic, Poets & Writers and elsewhere. She is the author of I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press, 2017) and Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019). Helal is the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest and has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem. She has presented her work at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Studio Museum in Harlem and Brooklyn Museum. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, Helal currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Nabila Lovelace



Nabila Lovelace is a born and raised Queens native, as well as a first generation American. Her parents hail from Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria. She currently resides in Tuscaloosa, AL. Her first collection, Sons of Achilles, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2018. Nabila is a 2016 Poetry Witch Magazine Summer Solstice Bop Contest finalist, a 2016 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest finalist, 2015 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop fellow, finalist for the Emerge-Be-Surface fellowship 2014, and a winner of the 2013 Poets & Writers Amy Award. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Narrative Northeast, Washington Square Review, Day One, Winter Tangerine: Hands Up Don’t ShootESPN, & Vinyl. She is co-founder of The Conversation Literary Festival. Her editorial work includes screening for Callaloo Journal, assistant poetry editor at Black Warrior Review, & co-poetry editor for The Offing.