Senior Teaching Artist
Milagros "Mimi" Acosta is a Bronx native who has been dedicated to working with New York City's youth and families for over 10 years. She is a Youth Development professional who has experience in working in settings of all kinds including residential facilities, detention centers and jails. In addition to her work with Voices UnBroken, she is an after-school Activity Instructor for Good Shepherd Services, teaching Salsa, Hip Hop and their history. She is also a Substitute Para Professional with the DOE. As a writer and dancer from The South Bronx, she has felt the impact and lasting impression that programs such as Voices UnBroken can leave behind. From the years of 2010-2012, Mimi was the Program Director of Voices UnBroken, but respectfully resigned her position because she wanted to reconnect and return to working directly with youth. As she says, "I had a wonderful experience as Director, and learned so much... But I want to be with the kids!"
Senior Teaching Artist
Jess Poplawski is a NYC-based artist and musician who uses art and performance as social and political critique, spiritual release, and collaborative community building. A graduate of Pratt Institute, she now works as a teaching artist and a printmaker. In addition, she can be found performing locally and touring with her various musical projects.
Tanya Linn Albrigtsen-Frable (Mensen) is an educator, public artist and community facilitator. In addition to her work with Voices UnBroken, she is the Program Administrator and a Youth Advocate for the Parsons Scholars Program, a member of the Without Walls radicaleducator collective, and a teaching artist with Girls for Gender Equity's Urban Leaders Academy. Her artistic practice is driven by collaboration, community-building, individual healing and transformation of public space. Her work alongside young people is rooted in her early experience as a youth organizer and is driven by respect, dignity and solidarity.
Kelsey ‘Pyro’ Van Ert is a multifaceted artist from St. Paul/Minneapolis Minnesota. She was a recipient of the First Wave Hip-Hop Scholarship Program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Kelsey has performed at venues such as The New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, Contact Theater in Manchester England, and TEDx AIU in Antalya,Turkey. She has shared stages with renowned artists like Lemon Anderson, MC Lyte, Wale, Naughty By Nature, Slick Rick, Rennie Harris, and more. As an artist educator she has facilitated performance workshops at MIT, NYU, and Antalya International University. In 2014 Kelsey was commissioned to create a one act solo show titled “Break The Cycle,” about first generation college students. It debuted at the 2015 Line Breaks Hip-Hop Theatre Festival, in Madison, Wisconsin. She recently premiered the full length run of "Break The Cycle" at Williams College on February 4th 2016.
Linda La Montanez is a transgender artist, advocate and performance poet exploring mediums in dance, music and theater. In addition to her work with Voices Unbroken, she also works as a Youth Advocate at Safe Horizon-Streetwork Project, helping homeless and disenfranchised youth. Her skills and experience have also brought her to working with groups such as The Possibility Project, Theater Askew, The Caras Dance Ensemble, El Puente Leadership Center, The Kiki Coalition, The Iconic House of LaBeija and Afropunk, helping organize their first Trans Awareness March in 2014. She has performed in various theaters across the city including The Cherrylane Theater and El Teatro of Museo Del Barrio. Most recently, she played the role of Maybelline in The Messiah Complex, written and directed by Nia Witherspoon at the National Black Theater of Harlem. She can also be seen in the feature film “Pariah” by Dee Rees. Currently, she is pursuing her BFA in Multimedia Performing Arts at Lehman College and aims to use her art to create greater social consciousness around transgender issues amongst diverse populations.
Earl Majette a.k.a. Brother Earl a versatile teacher, writer and performer has been on the poetry circuit 17 years. As a teacher, he has taught creative writing to at risk youth thru diverse programming initiatives for over a decade. As an artist, Brother Earl has produced 4 albums, toured across the United States, Canada as well as abroad with stops across Europe and Africa. He is a recurring cast member of Sistahs Black Like Me Poetry Theatre Show and a weekly featured artist at Moca Lounge. Brother Earl has been involved in several TV and film projects most notably Celebraphy, Hughes Dream Harlem and Cabin in the Hood.
Currently, he played the role of Sonny Liston for the movie "American Gladiator" which is scheduled to released on Netflix later this year. In addition to he is scheduled to begin filming on the soon to be block buster project "Frank Chase in the Streets of Harlem" set for national release in 2017. Nevertheless, his passion remains teaching poetry and performance concepts to at risk youth in foster care, detention centers, after school programs and family shelters thru his partnership with Bronx Council on the Arts, Hip Hop Union and now Voices UnBroken.
Caits Meissner is an award-winning poet, educator and vibrant creative force dedicated to transformation through storytelling. For over ten years, Caits has extensively facilitated youth and adults in poetry and multi-media expression and healing, and has worked long-term instituting innovative arts education programming at cultural institutions such as Tribeca Film Institute, Urban Arts Partnership, the Facing History School and the Lower East Side Girls Club. Caits' poetry of witness has been awarded first place prizes from the Pan-African Literary Forum and the J'Nai Foundation and she serves as Co-Founder of The Wide Shore global women's poetry magazine. Currently, Caits consults with organizations and communities to infuse the arts and creativity in team building, leadership training and story-bases approaches to healing and growth. Caits serves on the Board of Directors for Filmakers Without Borders, and on the Advisory Team for the PhotoForward organizations, and teaches an online class, Digging Deep, Facing Self, a 30 day online intensive writing course designed to upplift, heal, and transform women into their boldest selves.