In April 2015, Michelle Myers from Yellow Rage performed at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ for the event entitled “Power to the Poem: Art and Activism.” Following the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson and as the anxieties around racebecame a national conversation, the Executive Board for the Asian Association at Princeton Theological Seminary (AAPTS) invited Michelle to the school in order to provide language and dimension to Asians and Asian-American graduate students struggling to think about their own locations within the discourse of race and color. Through word and creativity, Michelle was able to transform the space into a place of honest struggle, vulnerability, anger, contemplation, and celebration. It was without a doubt one of the best and most meaningful events of the year.
Sincerely and with power,
Jennie Kim, M.Div
Rutgers University, MSW Candidate 2016
2014-16 Moderator, AAPTS
2013-14 Vice-Moderator, AAPTS
It is with great appreciation that we are writing this recommendation letter for Michelle Myers from Yellow Rage. Michelle came to our writing workshop in order to facilitate a discussion about feminism. Our workshop consisted of high school girls of color who were just beginning their advocacy for social justice. Michelle brought energy and positivity to the room, while also promoting an atmosphere of learning and active engagement. Coming out of the workshop, Michelle left a positive impact on us and on our participants, reminding us that we are the next generation of advocates. Michelle reminded us it’s okay to be outspoken, even when women are taught to be silent, especially Asian women. We also learned a great deal about the Asian/Asian American side of feminism, the history of it, as well as about role models and influential figures. As someone who is an influential figure in the Asian poetry world in America, we found that she was very down-to- earth, kind, helpful, and flexible. She took her time explaining things and moving discussion along while also keeping us on topic within the limited time-frame we had. Michelle was amazing to work with, and we would love to have her as facilitator again.
– Aishika Jennela & Devisha Walia
Co-Directors of Diverse Asian Writers’ Network
Michelle Myers is an amazing speaker, performer, scholar, and grassroots leader. I had the opportunity to hear her speak and perform at Asian American student conferences at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University. Her presentations are usually personable, honest, inspirational, and at times, beautifully raw. Michelle is very approachable and down-to- earth. She will talk to you, in-person, the same way as she would talk to a group of 400-500+ people. Michelle has the ability to draw thoughtful and informed connections regarding Asian American/Multicultural identities and race and racism through highly engaging talks, workshops, and performances. It is particularly impressive to watch Michelle perform and teach spoken word. You can tell that she really cares about her craft and how she teaches her craft with students.
– Peter Van Do
Director, Pan Asian-American Community House (PAACH)
University of Pennsylvania
I first learned of Michelle and her work as a spoken word poet when I was in college. I had never before heard spoken word poetry performed by an Asian American woman and it was an incredibly empowering and a defining experience for me as a young Asian American woman discovering my own cultural identity. Since then, I have had the pleasure of working with Michelle professionally and am always moved by her passion and artistry. Spoken word poetry is a powerful tool for social change and activism and Michelle is a master at her craft. She deftly wields her words to evoke powerful emotions in her audience, to transport us to the magical time of a Philadelphia summer or to remind us of our ancestry and the generations of people who walked before us. She reminds us of history’s atrocities so that we may never forget, but also inspires us with the beauty in our hope and perseverance for a more equitable world, nation and community.
– Tiffany Chang Lawson
Executive Director of the PA Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
I have known Michelle Myers since 2013, which was the year she first visited us in Reno to perform and workshop at one of our Spotlight Series events. Michelle’s recent visit in July of 2015 had her featured as a Spotlight performer one night and a host/guest workshop mentor for our youth collective another night. Ms. Myers shows a great deal of professionalism and punctuality whenever we bring her to our events. Her attitude is always pleasant and welcoming which makes communication and planning a simple task. Michelle’s knowledge and experience as an educator and poet definitely shine through during the workshops; her performances are dynamic, passionate and always provide something for everyone. It’s been a pleasure working with Michelle these past few years and her involvement to our poetry scene has benefited our community greatly. We look forward to working with Ms. Myers in the future!
– Iain Watson
Co-founder of Spoken Views Collective, Reno, NV
When I was first connected with Michelle Myers through a mutual friend, I was actually giddy at the thought of working with such an accomplished, well-known poet – someone I really respected. I had attended her Open Mics at the Asian Arts Initiative and read Yellow Rage’s work as a graduate student. So when I invited Michelle to participate in a children’s poetry workshop that I run in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, it was to my delight that she agreed to come! Since she has arrived, she has brought nothing but joy to my students’ lives. She arrived with a suitcase full of supplies for our school – but it is her patience, beautiful spirit, and magnetic verses that have really inspired us!
We are a school poor in money, but rich in culture. We rely on volunteers and we couldn’t ask for anyone better than someone as giving as Michelle. She is an experienced poet and a great teacher. We would welcome her back at any time, and hope to continue our relationship with Michelle in the future. My respect for Michelle has reached new heights. Any project or organization would be lucky to have her!
– Jaime Lynn Hunter
Former Director of Adult ESL Programming, Barrio Planta Project
We wanted to share some comments from the panel’s deliberations with you:
- Moved by the way you use poetry as a tool for awareness and a means to raise money for issues you care about. Saw you as being on the “front lines” of these issues.
- Appreciated the far-reaching ripples of your social change work and encourage you to deepen your community engagement.
- Congratulate you on juggling your roles as mother, teacher, poet, etc.
From Award Letter for 2014 Transformation Award, Panelists’ Comments