We (Too) Are Philly: Schools, Not Prisons




Feature Poet: Becky Birtha



Becky Birtha is an American poet and children’s author who lives in the greater Philadelphia area. Her poetry was featured in the acclaimed 1983 anthology of African-American feminist writing Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith and published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. She has won a Lambda Literary award for her poetry. She has been awarded grants from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to further her literary works. In recent years she has written two children’s historical fiction picture books about the African-American experience.


Cortney Lamar Charleston



Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies, selected by D.A. Powell for the 2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. He was awarded a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and he has also received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation Literary Festival and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, his poems have appeared in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, New England Review, AGNI, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. He serves as a poetry editor at The Rumpus.


I.S. Jones


I.S. Jones is a queer American-Nigerian writer, educator, and music journalist from Southern California by way of New York. She is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole, Callaloo, & BOAAT Writer’s Retreat. In 2016, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the Assistant Editor at Voicemail Poetry and Chaparral as well as the Managing Editor of Dead End Hip Hop. Her works have appeared in The Offing, great weather for MEDIA, Anomalous Press, The Shade Journal, the Black Voices Series with Puerto Del Sol, in Nat.Brut Neuro-divergent women folio and elsewhere. She received her MFA in 2016.


Kenyatta JP Garcia



Kenyatta JP Garcia currently resides in Albany, NY after spending their youth in Brooklyn and Queens.  They spent ten years as a cook after graduating from SUNY Albany with a  BA in English/Philosophy.  Since leaving the restaurant business, they have received a second BA in Linguistics and work the graveyard shift where they spend my nights putting boxes on shelves. They’re also the author of Slow Living (West Vine Press), Yawning On The SandsEnter the After-Garde, and This Sentimental Education.  And, an editor at Rigorous. And follow them on Twitter @KJPGarcia.


Oskar Castro



Oskar Pierre Castro is an artist/analyst/non-violent activist/father & husband with over twenty-five years of service in the non-profit sector working on youth development, career development, peace activism, decolonization work, and labor rights. He currently serves with Quaker Voluntary Service as the Philadelphia City Coordinator and the Director of Community & Inclusion. A member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Oskar is married to a like-minded soul, has two daughters, the best dog ever, and a cat.