Lytasha Blackwell: She's a B.O.S.S

Lytasha Blackwell is an illuminating, vibrant, and artistic soul. As an accomplished and sought after spoken-word poetry artist, Lytasha is a writer, Hip Hop Feminist, educator and Young Women's Leadership Organizerwho draws on past experiences to help other people who may be going through similar issues know they are not alone in what they are going through and that there are outlets, like poetry, that can be utilized to express one's frustrations or ideas.

In 2007, Lystasha experienced an unfortunate event in which the middle school girls' group she was charged with mentoring was told by school authorities to, in place of bringing awareness to real issues the girls were facing, like drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, poverty and gang violence (during a school pep-rally) instead focus on bringing awareness to the minuscule and unimportant issues every student faces like "gum chewing and no running in the halls. They were told that it’s better to leave community issues outside of the school". 

This prompted Lytasha to "create an environment where the voices of young women wouldn’t be silenced, overlooked and ignored". With a small grant of $800, she formed the program: "She's a B.O.S.S - Beyond Ordinary Setting Standards" in the summer of 2008. The program initially aimed to work with young women and high schools in Bridgeport and New Haven, CT, but was expanded into a curriculum and program model - making the program easy for replication in other cities where young women face similar issues.

Currently, Lytasha works in the Summer Equal Opportunity Office at SCSU. When asked about why she continues her work with youth she states that the, "main goal is to be a guide and resource for young people moving forward in their journeys while maintaining the ability to not minimize their experiences". 

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