xBorn and raised in The Bronx, Amira Mustapha was always captivated by the ability of art influencing and connecting community members. Writing ever since she was young, she developed the appreciation for storytelling and performance. It wasn’t long until that appreciation became love. It soon became clear that her mission was to travel through our compelling earth spreading artistic magic by connecting with artists of similar energy and ambition.
Her artistic spirit has led her to 14 adventurous years in the performing arts where she developed her skills as a performer, playwright, poet, stage manager and theater technician. Her first defining moment was her accepted into Lehman College, where she pursued her Bachelor of Art degree. Within four months of graduating, she began working on her first off-Broadway show Break Out, as a light operator. This first opportunity into the theater industry was her second defining moment, encouraging her to work hard for this international touring dance comedy. It would soon pay off as she worked on several notable shows and spaces such as The French Institute, Merkin Concert Hall and the Tribeca Performing Art Center. She found a home in the off-Broadway production of Avenue Q until it’s closing in 2019. Understanding that she was achieving an education, she set herself on a course to give back and received her Masters of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Lehman College in 2019.
She currently works as the Director of Production Services at Lehman College, where she oversees a staff of 20. This position offers her the opportunity to pass her knowledge to the diverse students and community members she hires. She equips her employees with tools to succeed in their pursuit of being theater technicians in the professional world and in the city where the heart of theater lives. She utilizes her professional connections to help mentor exceptional employees by sharing job opportunities that will grow their skills. This act of giving back inspired her most significant defining moment.
Peggy Robles-Alvarado is a tenured New York City educator and award winning poet who inspires triumph and embodies strength. With graduate degrees in elementary and bilingual education and an MFA degree in Performance and Performance Studies from Pratt Institute this former single teen mother, initiated priestess in the Lukumi and Palo spiritual systems, and a proud grandmother, uses her incredible rhythmic energy to celebrate womanhood and honor cultural rituals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a CantoMundo, Academy for Teachers and Home School Fellow as well as a BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) performance poet award winner.
In 2012 she became the recipient of the Mujeres Destacadas Award, a recognition given annually by El Diario-La Prensa to the most outstanding women in the Latino community and The Womyn Warrior Award presented by Casa Atabex Aché. Her first book, Conversations With My Skin, was awarded second place in the category of Best Poetry Book in English in the 2012 International Latino Book Awards. In 2013, her second book Homenaje A Las Guerreras / Homage To The Warrior Women was awarded second place for Best Bilingual Poetry Book and Best Cover Design.
In 2013 she also was awarded The Tato Laviera Poetic Teamster Award given by the Teamsters Union Local 237. In 2016 Peggy was named one of the 25 Most Influential Women of the Bronx, a BCA Arts Fund, and Spaceworks Bronx Community Artist Grant recipient. In 2017 she was awarded the positon of Graduate Student Trustee and received the Graduate Student Engagement Fund Grant at Pratt Institute. In 2018 she earned the Excellence in Academic Achievement Award and graduated Pratt Institute with a 4.0 G.P.A.
Peggy has been featured on HBO Habla Women, Lincoln Center Out of Doors for La Casita, Pregones Theater Block Party, The 2014 Voto Latino Power Summit at John Jay College, Poets and Writers Fifth Annual Connecting Cultures Reading, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx Community College, Hunter College, New York University, Hostos Community College, The 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival, The Nuyorican Poets Café, The Milford Fine Arts Center, Fairfield University, Brecht Forum, Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center, Harvard University, Michigan State University as well as other culturally notable venues throughout and beyond the tri-state area.
She has been published in 92Y’s #wordswelivein, NACLA, Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, The Bronx Memoir Project, The Other Side of Violet, and Latina Voices: Struggles and Protest in 21 Century USA. Luna Luna Magazine, Upliftt.com, Dealmas.org and Sofrito For Your Soul. She has also participated in several panel discussions focused on contemporary Latina writers through the Sangre Viva Arts Alliance, Fordham University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Comadres y Compadres Writer’s Conference and The New York City Latina Writers Group.
Peggy is continuously generating and supporting original thought-provoking women centered literary events that provide a platform for emerging artists though Robleswrites Productions. She co-wrote and co- produced Soledad Speaks: A Theatrical Spoken Word Journey that successfully debuted to five sold out standing room only audiences in 2013 at The Iati Theater and was selected to be part of the 2014 BADD!ASS Women Festival at The Bronx Academy Of Arts and Dance. She also created and produced Women In Creative Rebellion: An Annual Spoken Word Poetry and Networking Event that began in 2013 in the Bronx to celebrate the creativity of women. Peggy also co- produced several installments of Canvas Of Words: A Queens Art and Poetry Festival. Through Robleswrites Productions she has created workshops for women and produced the following anthologies: The Abuela Stories Project (2016) and Mujeres, The Magic, The Movement and The Muse (2017). Peggy has also directed sold out performative readings of her latest anthology and the poetic play Live Big Girl. For more information please visit Robleswrites.com.
Juan Ramirez, Jr. is a Borinquén-Chapín-Bronx playwright, monologist, director, screenwriter, filmmaker, poet and producer. His play Calling Puerto Rico made Second Round for the Austin Film Festival, is a Miranda Family Voces Latinx Finalist with Repertorio Español, a 2020 BAPF Finalist and a recipient of the 2019 BRIO Award.
Notable produced works include Ridin‘ Shotgun (Best Play Downtown Urban Arts Festival), The American Dream (NAV Playwrights Festival, BBTF), Wall (LaTea, Cimientos), Stroke of Madness (Ingenio Milagro, Cimientos) and Don Juan (Dixon Place). Semi-finalists include Jimmy’s Tab (2011 Princess Grace). His horror short Alone With My Demons won Inwood Art Works’ NYC Quarantine Film Festival’s Best Bronx Film. He is a Dramatist Guild member, 2020-2021 Dramatist Guild Fellow, the founder of The PlayPen collective and R&R Productions with his wife Cristy Reynoso. He is a film assessor, script reader, dramaturg and teaching artist. He received his B.A. from Lehman College and his MFA from NYU Tisch. www.JuanRamirezJr.com