ABOUT NIKIA

I am a youth development professional that encourages disengaged youth to embrace feelings of anger, discover its root causes, and challenges youth to use anger as a catalyst to tackle social inequities through interactive presentations, academic plans, service-learning projects, fact-finding expeditions, and open dialogue. Anger itself is not a problem to be fixed; it’s all about what you do with it!

I attained my Master of Social Work Degree from The University of Georgia with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. I am an experienced community empowerment and program development specialist with a strong track record of facilitating leadership workshops, liaising with community stakeholders, and designing and implementing high-impact programs that have significantly improved student academic performance, bolstered critical thinking skills, and increased youth engagement in community service-learning projects. Over the past three years, I have managed programs that train underserved youth and young adults how to cross-reference and analyze data, develop action plans, write professional emails, conduct informational interviews, and plan their very own civic engagement projects. To engage in collaborative efforts with youth that championed their imagination and encouraged them to embrace intellectual curiosity was truly rewarding. In the near future, I look forward to expanding my reach by working with youth on a larger scale. I have also collaborated with several non-profit organizations to develop fundraising plans, volunteer management plans, grant proposals, reports, flyers, brochures, and e-newsletters.

My first artistic outlet set the stage for the professional path I would eventually take later in life. I started exploring the art of social consciousness seventeen years ago when I decided to write free-verse poems to capture the essence of my lived experiences. Before long, I was reciting each poem with a sense of urgency and passion I had never witnessed in any of my English classrooms. I thought I had literally revolutionized the art of poetry and story telling. A few years later, I realized there was an underground community of performance poets who recited poems with the same sense of urgency. Although I was slightly disappointed that I had not invented a new art form, I was more than elated to join a community of such esteemed, thought-provoking leaders.

I am a spoken-word artist driven by the desire to illuminate and eradicate social inequities. I view artistic expression as the manifestation of life unfolding creatively. As such, I believe it is my personal responsibility to speak truth to power, to observe relentlessly, to engage in ongoing resistance efforts so that we may progress toward a more culturally diverse, just, and equitable society. I inject the transformative power of togetherness into every interpersonal exchange. I believe in historic revival and stress the importance of attempting to understand the interconnectedness of previous events that all too frequently shape our current existence. I encourage openness and honesty about that which we may seek comfort in dismissing, ignoring, or simply failing to consider altogether because of the blindness our status affords us. I find myself in a constant state of rumination and introspection because I am convinced that an adequate dosage of the two are fundamental elements of lifelong activism. Okay okay, I know all of this may be a bit intense, but what can I say? Life isn’t always flowers and rose petals.  Sometimes it’s steep hills, upsets, and obstacles to address. And I’m just curious, are you ready to join the movement yet?!

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