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Word Up!: Poetry with Niki Martinez from Youth Empowerment

Saturday, May 28 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Word Up!: Poetry with Niki Martinez from Youth Empowerment

Participate in creating poetry, music, and visual artwork in real time on Saturday, May 28 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the Globe’s outdoor Plaza in beautiful Balboa Park! 

Special featured co-host Niki Martinez leads a conversation about restoration and healing, and the emotions that drive us. A lineup of guest artists explore this theme through their artforms, and audiences have the chance to join the conversation, shape the outcome of the collaborative artwork, and make their own community craft by the end.

This event is in support of Youth Empowerment, a local nonprofit whose mission it is to transform communities and increase public safety through community mentorship, building resilience, advocacy, and system transformation for high-needs individuals and families. Audience members will be able to learn more about their work, and get tickets to their upcoming fundraising event, H.E.A.L. 2022: From Trauma to Triumph, on June 4. For more information about Youth Empowerment or to buy fundraiser event/raffle tickets, visit here.

Featured Artist: Niki Martinez (she/her)

Niki was hired by Youth Empowerment in 2019 as a Case Manager for the adult re-entry program and quickly rose to the position of COO, where she oversees and assists in the development of all programs, monitors grant compliance and directs mentor/mentee relationships. She works in the community to build resources, recruit clients, and community awareness. Niki also works with The Old Globe Theater as a Teaching Artist for Reflecting Shakespeare.

Supporting Artist: Eric “Maserati-E” Abercrombie

Emmy nominated Rapper/singer/song writer and producer Eric Abercrombie aka Maserati-E was born in Oakland Ca. Eric spent 1/3 of his life incarcerated, from the ages of 17-26. He uses his life experience and the influence of music to shift perspectives. One of the many things Eric is currently doing is working as the sound designer for the podcast Uncuffed, which is produced from San Quentin State Prison and Solano State Prison. Eric plans to change the world by changing the way people view the world.

Supporting Artist: Jazzy

Jazzy is a California native born out of Chula Vista. She's very passionate about all art forms and especially about children. As a former foster youth she's fought through the turbulence of a rough childhood, but righteously works best under pressure. Drawing, dancing and singing have been drilled into her veins. These talents are her main outlets of expression. Telling her story has been troubling to some, but she admires the pain and struggle of fighting through that turbulence. All of the success in life goes out to her angel in heaven and mother: Markisha Price.

Supporting Artist: Ruben Radillo

Ruben Radillo has been making art in different ways his whole life. He was a student and now a Teaching Artist for Project PAINT. Ruben‘s art has been included in future IDs at Alcatraz, the front cover of Iron City Magazine and several art exhibitions and murals around San Diego and Los Angeles, including RJD correctional facility. He has successfully turned his passion for art into a career as a professional tattoo artist.

San Diego Community Guest: Raul Ledezma

Raul Ledezma is 18 years old and a San Diego resident. He is a high school graduate reform inmate, now a mentor and Trauma Informed Care Code of Conduct trainer. He enjoys going out to eat at different restaurants, and he loves to travel and visit new places.

Read more about supporting Youth Empowerment!

Attend Youth Empowerment’s benefit H.E.A.L. 2022: From Trauma to Triumph

Youth Empowerment Home Page


Watch the Word Up! Live live stream here!