Through the intersections of Literary Arts, Youth Development, and Social Justice programs, Phonetic Spit creates Brave Space to empower young and emerging adults to find, develop and publicly present their voices as agents of societal change.
A poet, Educator, Teaching Artist, Hip Hop Thespian and community organizer: Tomás is dedicated to advancing the art of spoken word and Hip Hop culture as platforms for youth development and civic engagement. Co-Founder of Phoenix’s premiere literary arts and youth development organization, Phonetic Spit, Tomás uses critical pedagogy to empower young and emerging adults to boldly express themselves – from the margins to the core. His work and teaching style are rooted in his childhood experiences of poverty, single parent household, and learning to navigate violence, identity, masculinity and what it means to love and be loved. Tomás has over 10 year experience in youth development and currently works all across the valley creating Brave spaces for expression. He is also the founder and directing producer of the Soul Justice Project (SJP), which is the resident theatre experience of Phonetic Spit. The SJP is dedicated to curating community based theatrical performance that create Brave spaces for unconventional thespians to carve out new pathways of expression and storytelling.
Myrlin Hepworth: Co-Founder / National Program Director
A poet, writer, teaching artist and community activist. In 2009 the Arizona Commission on the Arts selected Myrlin for its roster of Teaching Artist. In 2010 he became the first undergraduate teaching artist for the Young Writers Program at Arizona State University where he received his degree in English in 2011. In addition to his role as the Artistic and Youth Development Director at Phonetic Spit, Hepworth earns a living with his art by performing at universities, youth centers, group homes, museums, and theaters. He has competed on three National Poetry Slam teams and coached the Phonetic Spit youth team to consecutive appearances at the Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam.