Roya won the Bowery Poetry Slam on Monday night with ease, but it’s not a competition to her. Just a platform to spread her message and her voice, and if she gets rewarded afterwards, she’ll take it. It’s nothing new for her. She was a member of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe’s Slam Team, a position that takes a lot of winning-poetry-slams to reach, including their 2014 Grand Slam.

She doesn’t like talking about this sort of stuff – she will, but you have to dig it out a little bit. To her, she’s just one voice in a movement. The movement, the medium, the message, the art, the community – these are the things that are meaningful to her. I understand i’m using a lot of hyphens, but i think we’ll be ok.

It’s the empowerment of disenfranchised that i feel moves her, and it’s why she spends her time as a youth mentor and writing teacher, helping young people with something to say find their own voice, building a community of young writers, poets, speakers, activists, or maybe just a group of young people in touch with their beliefs and their feelings. The Bronx native values that community, and you can see that for yourself in this piece we shot in the first ever ‘Street Noise: BX’ feature, an honest and personal expression of the feeling of being gentrified.

You can find Rosa Marsh on twitter and instagram @issaroya

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