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Our Team

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Alyesha Wise-Hernandez

Lead Instructor, Co-Founder

Alyesha Wise is a published poet, teaching artist & TEDx speaker from Camden, N.J. Currently residing in LA, she is a teaching artist for Street Poets, Inc., an organization serving juvenile injustice-involved youth with mentorship and arts programming. Alyesha is a 2-time Women of the World Poetry Slam finalist with a stellar competing and coaching record. She has been featured on platforms and in publications such as Huffington Post, Bustle, Afropunk, PBS, POPSUGAR, Buzzfeed and more. Other collabs include the ACLU of Southern California, Brave New Films and  the Google Interstellar Project. Ron Howard once wrote about Alyesha's work, "Very Powerful."

Matthew 'Cuban' Hernandez

Lead Instructor, Co-Founder

Matthew ‘Cuban’ Hernandez is a poet, speaker, and performance coach from Jacksonville, Florida. He has toured as far as Abu Dhabi and nearly every major city in the United States and Europe, performing, teaching and coaching poetry. A teaching artist for nearly ten years, Matthew has spent the last four years working in youth detention centers across Los Angeles County. He has opened for artists such as Wu-Tang and performed for platforms such as BuzzFeed and NPR. Matthew is also a three time Southern Fried poetry slam champion and an award-winning poetry coach. Cuban’s favorite activity is making people feel great; sometimes he does this through poetry.

Alumni Team

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Sheila Sadr

is a first generation Iranian-American poet, journalist and educator. Sheila has had her work featured with the United Nations, Segerstrom Center of the Arts, Write About Now, and countless other gorgeous spaces. She took first place at the 2018 Jack Rabbit Poetry Slam and is a two-time finalist for the Not A Cult Poetry Book Competition. Published or forthcoming Nat. Brut, Tinderbox Poetry, BOAAT, and many other gems, Sheila has facilitated numerous writing workshops in California, including at California State University, Fullerton and California State University, Long Beach. She now spends her time cultivating The Workshop,  a collaborative writing space in the Orange County, and also serves as the Talent Director for The Definitive Soapbox family, one of LB’s longest running open mics that is now going on its tenth year.


Féi Hernandez

is a Mexican trans non-binary writer, visual artist, actor, and spiritual healer. They grew up undocumented in Inglewood, California, where they taught 8th grade creative writing and art for three years full-time after graduating from Dickinson College on the Posse Scholarship. A VONA (Voices of Our Nations Art Foundation) fellow, féi’s writing has been featured in NPR, Immigrant Review, Non Binary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity, Good Mood, Live Wire, and forthcoming Hayden's Ferry Review. They currently the Art Director of Palms Up Academy and teach Crafting Eternity, a writing class for developing writers in the Los Angeles area.

Danielle Galván Gomez

is a writer, artist, researcher and arts and culture practitioner. Danielle studied painting and visual culture at the Rhode Island School of Design, and graduated from Brown University in 2017 with a degree in comparative literature. Her research and writing focuses on border and state violence, aesthetic theory, poetry and refusal, and her writing has been archived and published by Brown University’s Department of English. 


Arnisha Royston

is a poet, local to the South LA area and a graduate of UCLA with a bachelor degree in American literature and culture and a minor in African American studies. Her love for poetry and writing grew immensely as a student at UCLA. She currently works in student services at the University of Southern California. Arnisha is the S.L.A.M. Alumni Team Workshop Leader

Leslie Ortega

is a Chicanx poet and accountant from Anaheim, California. Currently living in Los Angeles, she bounces between her work as a poet and an accountant for not-for-profit organizations. Her poetry has been published in “Modern Literary Journal” and she has been featured at  NCGS Fellowship in Inglewood, CA. 

Jared Santos Aguilera

is a first-generation American poet. He was born in Fresno, California to parents who emigrated from Mexico in the 80s. He grew up speaking Spanish and entered kindergarten with a single English word: firefighter. After graduating from San Francisco State University in 2013, he moved to New England to develop his writing. He currently writes and runs around Los Angeles.

Danielle Harris

is a two-time graduate of Azusa Pacific University (APU) where she earned her M.S. of College Counseling and Student Development and her B.A. in Sociology/Ethnic Studies. She had the opportunity to take students on experiential learning trips through the United States and Ghana exploring how past experiences of African Americans impact their present day reality. She has recently done a Tedx Talk entitled, "Black Boys Deserve To See Tomorrow Too." 

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