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Our Story

Sacred Voices is a Denver-based, BIPOC+, youth-focused organization that was founded in 2004.
Originally known as Cafe Cultura, Sacred Voices has worked tirelessly to accomplish its mission.

Our Mission:
Sacred Voices promotes unity and healing among Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC+) communities through creative expression while empowering youth to find their voice, power, and become leaders in their communities.

What We Do

Sacred Voices hosts an open mic every month at Denver Community Media. It is the only open mic in town that is focused on youth.

We also conduct culturally engaging spoken word/poetry workshops for students in the Denver Metro area. These workshops teach students the power of their voice as well as the power of their racial identity and sexuality.

We also host a monthly radio program on KGNU. Sacred Voices on KGNU is an interview series where we talk to local poets, artists, and activists about their work in the community.

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Meet The Team

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Astin Lopez
Co-Executive Director

Astin Lopez is a musician, writer, worker, and sound engineer currently living in Denver, Colorado. He has a BS in Music from the University of Colorado Denver. His music is focused on isolation, depression, and the struggles of modern society. He is the Director of Media for Sacred Voices. He produces and organizes all of Sacred Voices' Open Mics. Astin is also a freelance songwriter and audio technician writing music for local shows such as Circus Foundry and providing audio expertise to Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church.

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Briannah Hill
Co-Executive Director

Briannah Hill, a.k.a ArtsyQ, identifies as a Blaqueer [Black & Queer] Nonbinary individual. They are a poet, storyteller, and workshop facilitator, from Denver, CO. They are the Director of Programs for Sacred Voices. They manage, curate, and facilitate all the workshops and events for Sacred Voices.

When they aren't performing, ArtsyQ is a community organizer, educator, and social activist for Black Trans and Blaqueer peoples. 

Meet The Board

Cipriano Ortega (they/them)

Cipriano has been fortunate enough to have their work recognized and shown both nationally and internationally.  Cipriano strives to create works of art that probe the mind and make people question what they perceive as the normative. Whether that is shown in music, theater, visual art or some sort of culmination of all of the above; Cipriano enjoys blending all creative forms of expression. As a sociological artist, Cipriano deconstructs the worlds around them and observes it under a nihilistic perspective. As an indigenous POC, they also have no choice but to deal with colonialism head on by making it a daily practice to see the divisions we as a society create and continue to make the ‘normative.’

Kenya Mahogany Fashaw (she/her)

Kenya Mahogany Fashaw, is Co-Founder and the Chief Creative Officer of 5280 Artist Co-Op. She is a Spoken Word artist, actress and playwright.  Kenya was recently selected to be part of the 2020-21 Denver Center of Performing Art Playwrights Group. She wrote and directed “Colorism, Breaking The Chains of Complexion” that won 5280 Artist Co-Op  their 2018 Henry Award for Best New Play.  "Colorism" was also selected to be featured in the 2020 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. Kenya’s plays, “The Cage” and "Hip Hop Matrimony” were two of six plays included in 5280 Artist Co-Op’s Henry nominated production of  “1 Night 6 Plays.” She was Honored as a Colorado Creative in Westword in February 2020. Kenya creates stories to normalize people of color and to change their narratives.

Emma Steuer (she/her)

Emma Perez Steuer is the Executive Director of Union Hall, a non-profit arts exhibition and event space supporting diverse, emerging artists and curators in the Denver area. Previously, she was the Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the Biennial of the Americas, and has also worked as the Development Associate for the World Federalist Movement— Institute for Global Policy, an international NGO working to protect human rights and advance international justice and peace around the globe. Emma holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Spanish from the State University of New York at Geneseo. She has also completed the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s Impact Denver program, an initiative for up-and-coming professionals in the Denver Metro area. 

Shanae Adams (she/they)

Shanae "HonestlyNae" Adams, MA, LPCC, NCC, CIGT (pronouns she/they) serves her community in a variety of ways including therapist, educator, and sex-positive enthusiast. Her mission is sexuality normalization, explanation, and melanated representation. Her passion revolves around the liberation of embracing sexuality. She is known for her dynamic workshops, sex-positive mindset, and eliminating the "taboo" surrounding sex and sexuality.

Cristina Michaels (she/her)

Cristina is a transgender queer artist, licensed medical professional, and dance instructor of over 25 years.  Cristina had a 12 year professional classical ballet career as a socialized male ballet dancer. Along with teaching classical ballet, she is an accomplished choreographer of modern, contemporary and classical dance and has been a character artist for 23 years. Most recently is the integration of her medical practice Healing Roots Acupuncture with her long love for dance, teaching and movement. This unique marriage has brought dance to a population that has rarely had an accepting space. In the creation of Queer Dance Project, and the new dance studio, Crisitna has started to offer the lgbtqia community classical arts training along with a variety of other dance movements. In an effort to reach out to those without the means to participate in a dance classes, Queer Dance Project has established the Guardian Trancestor Fund to help pay for dance cloths, shoes, workshops and classes. You can always find Cristina methodically practicing her guitar, writing poetry and or commuting with the natural beauty of the world.

Mateo Vela (he/him)

Mateo Manuel Vela is a Chicano spoken word poet, scholar, and community organizer hailing from Denver, Colorado.  He is currently studying International Affairs and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  In addition to being a board member for Sacred Voices, Mateo is also a leading member of the Latinx activist organization UMAS y MECHA de CU Boulder.  Drawing from his experiences growing up in the Denver Westside, Mateo is a hopeless romantic who writes about his own lived realities and observations at the intersection of radical love, ancestral grief, politics, and healing.