Raising Voices Festival

A Celebration of Music, Art, and the Power of Protest

Uplift and celebrate voices of revolution—past, present, and future!

Revolutionary Spaces presents the Raising Voices Festival: A Celebration of Music, Art, and the Power of Protest. To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, join Revolutionary Spaces in September for a vibrant, multi-disciplinary arts festival in the heart of downtown Boston that celebrates the power of protest throughout history.

On September 23rd and 24th, walk in the footsteps of revolutionaries who came before us. Our Washington Street campus—from the Old State House to Old South Meeting House and beyond—will be activated with experiences for people of all ages. This multi-day event will feature a range of performances and attractions from local and national artists, performers, and community partners, including:

  • Musicians
  • Dancers
  • Theatrical happenings
  • Poets
  • Beer garden & food
  • Street art activation
  • New England Revolution Soccer Activities
  • And MORE!

Register now to get the latest updates about artist announcements and performance schedules.


Saturday, September 23, 2023
11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Sunday, September 24, 2023
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Downtown Boston
Admission is free. Registration is highly encouraged.

Meet the Featured Artists

Spanning a range of disciplines and genres, our five featured artists will perform on multiple stages during both days of the Raising Voices Festival. They have also served as an artistic anchor for the producing team, assisting in the curation and planning of all of the festivities. Click on an image below to read more about each of our Featured Artists.

Festival Artists

Explore the exciting array of performers and artists participating in the Raising Voices Festival!

A Besere Velt (A Better World) Yiddish Chorus of Boston Workers Circle is proud to be a voice for justice. This vibrant intergenerational community chorus weaves the heartache and irrepressible idealism of Yiddish music into a vision of justice and humanity for the 21st century. From haunting melodies to workers’ anthems, the songs come alive with multi-layered harmonies and allow us to express Jewishness and social justice in the same breath—it’s called radical Yiddishkayt!

The repertoire of A Besere Velt grew out of the shtetls, the sweatshops and union meetings, the camps and ghettos. These songs contain the sounds of the history, the culture, and the progressive values to inspire us to action today.

Since 2018, Dr. Derek David has been Music Director of A Besere Velt. An accomplished composer, conductor, and music educator based in Boston, Derek’s music has been performed in Europe and throughout the United States. Prior to his work with A Besere Velt, he was choir conductor for the men’s and women’s choirs at Walden School (2015-2017). With degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory, he is currently Lecturer in Music at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Click here to download A Besere Velts lyrics and translations.

Amanda Shea Raising Voices Festival

Amanda Shea is the 2022 Spoken Word Artist of the Year. Shea is an artist, performer, educator, activist, publicist, host, and curator. She has hosted numerous poetry events, including BAMSFest (Boston Art & Music Soul Festival). She co-founded and curated five iterations of Activating ARTivism, a community festival to amplify POC through art, activism, and resistance. In 2021, she was named one of WBUR The ARTery's 25 artists of color: transforming the cultural landscape. Shea was a featured artist for 2022 Thought Artist for SOLSTICE: Reflections on Winter Light at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Her work can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Globe, Netflix, Prime Video, BBC News, and much more. Shea will be releasing her first book, “Pieces of Shea,” in the Fall of 2023. Amanda's work examines her personal life experiences, social justice issues, and healing through trauma utilizing art as the tool.

"My Existence is the Resistance. I utilize my art as a form of activism. We stand on the shoulders of my ancestors, as well as standing on their graves. Let it be our reminder to LIVE!"

Atlas Soul is a multiple award-winning band performing original music that celebrates polyrhythm and melodies rooted in the Afro-Mediterranean traditions organically punched with deep funk, jazz, and intelligent hip hop. Burning live performances with audience participation is their trademark! 

Atlas Soul has played scores of major venues such as The Montreal Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Festival International de Louisiane, the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, NYC’s Joe’s Pub, Montréal Festival Nuits d’Afrique, and more. They regularly sell out shows in the Boston area and beyond. Atlas Soul’s core is a quintet but they love to invite a special guest musician or add a full horn section depending on the show. They feature two outstanding lead vocalists—Regie Gibson, an award winning poet, percussionist, and natural powerhouse performer, and band leader Jacques Pardo, a saxophonist, guitarist, and composer from France. Drummer extraordinaire Zeke Martin and bassist Steve Davis (“The groove Master”) hold the rhythm section along with Greek-American virtuoso guitarist Perry Bakalos.

Atlas Soul has won or placed at the Independent Music Awards four times—including the 2013 IMA vox poll in two categories—as well as many other music contests. Atlas Soul sings in French, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, and English, making their performances truly cross-cultural music experiences. The lyrics speak of love, ecology, oppression, happiness, immigration, poverty, and spicy food! The band has produced five CDs: Chamsa, Mabrouka, Maktoub, Live@Regattabar, and Gypsy Wind and three singles: “We ‘re Atlas Soul,” “My Heart,” and “Global Funk.” 

Atlas Soul’s motto, world music for world peace, spells out its philosophical and political goal: to inspire world peace through a fusion of music and culture that gets people to the dance floor.

"We believe in a revolution in the sense of revolving around a center of gravity. Atlas Soul is a soul- ar system of artists & musicians from multiple backgrounds, cultures, & beliefs revolving around the gravity of a shared humanity. Our motto "world music for world peace" is THE revolutionary philosophy guiding all we do from the creation of music & lyrics, to our practice sessions & stage performances.

Atlas Soul believes music can be a conduit to a revolution leading to better communal evolution."

Videos & Music:
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/atlassoul

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/atlas-soul

We Are Atlas Soul (Dance Hall/Middle Eastern): http://tinyurl.com/kvs775m

Let’s Take It Back (intelligent Hip Hop): http://tinyurl.com/l8e5s75

Pourquoi/Tell Me Why (Afrobeat): http://tinyurl.com/m37h6u3

Basel Zayed Raising Voices Festival

Basel Zayed began his music career as a composer, vocalist, and professional oud artist, and has developed a reputation as a successful musical leader and conductor. He has performed at many international music venues in various roles—featured artist, bandleader, and conductor—in Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Lebanon, United Kingdom, United States, Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine.

"Drawing upon the rich tapestry of my Palestinian heritage, my artistic journey becomes a revolutionary act, a protest against forgotten narratives. Each piece carries the weight of generations, raising a voice that echoes through time. With gratitude, I embrace the opportunity to be a part of this festival, where my roots intertwine with the collective stories of resilience and hope."

Video: Basel Zayed | A’ddom

Cakeswagg is a leader in Boston’s Hip Hop community. The lyrical rapper from Roxbury who is famous for her freestyles and effeminate flair, breaks down barriers and stereotypes created by society with her colorful tracks and hard working spirit.

The Boston native has been in the industry for over a decade and recognizes what it takes to reach the top. Cakeswagg has proved her mettle in the Hip Hop scene with Cakeology, Vol. 1 (2018) that enlists songs like “Thank you black girl,” “Cheesecake,” and “Guapanese.” In 2019, Cakeswagg released the EP Candy Cake Season, including “Best of Me,” "Classic,” “Ice Cream,” “Candy,” “Had Enough,” and “Never Over.” She then followed it up with "Ferb and Phineas" in 2020, receiving great reviews from the public and critics alike. Cakeswagg’s music has allowed her the opportunity to win music titles across the United States and Canada. Cakeswagg has been nominated and granted multiple prestigious music awards. 

She is well aware of her identity as an artist as well as a person. The talented rapper knows where she’s headed, who she wants to be, and makes sure to grab on to every opportunity she gets so as to not be devoured by the brutal industry. Alongside her entrepreneurship as CEO of Strong Black Girl Shop, Cakeswagg continues to empower women with her creations. She recently dropped the compelling single “Big Plays” that is all about girl power and standing firm in the face of the haters. After sharing a summer full of delightful singles accompanied with visuals, Cakeswagg is eager to share what’s next!

Charles Coe is a poet, prose writer, teacher of writing, and a musician (vocals and didgeridoo). He was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, but has lived in the Boston area since 1975. After 18 years, he retired in the spring of 2015 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the state agency that funds arts and culture, and now spends his time writing, teaching writing, and making music.

Coe has written four books of poetry: "Picnic on the Moon," "All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents," “Memento Mori,” and “Purgatory Road, all published by Leapfrog Press. He has also written "Spin Cycles," a novella published by Gemma Media. "Peach Pie," a short film by filmmaker Roberto Mighty based on his poem "Fortress," has been shown in film festivals nationwide. “Charles Coe: Man of Letters,” also created by Roberto Mighty, was named “Best Short Documentary” at the Roxbury Film Festival.

Receiving a fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Coe was selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a “Boston Literary Light in 2014” and spent 2017 as an Artist-in-Residence for the City of Boston, creating a project that collected oral histories of people who live and work in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood.

Teaching poetry and prose is a special interest of Coe’s. He teaches in a wide variety of settings, including grade schools, high schools, colleges, writing conferences, and workshops. He has served as poet-in-residence at Wheaton College and at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. Coe has also taught in Dingle, Ireland for the Bay Path University MFA Abroad program and as an adjunct professor of English at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, teaching poetry and nonfiction in the low-residency MFA program.

Crystal Valentine is a Black, queer woman from the Bronx now residing in Boston, Massachusetts. A former New York City Youth Poet Laureate and two-time winner of the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, Valentine has been offered fellowships from Callaloo, Tin House, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences. She is the winner of Palette Poetry's 2021 Emerging Poet Prize, selected by Kelli Russell Agodon. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic Anthology (Haymarket Books), Muzzle Magazine, TriQuarterly Magazine, Winter Tangerine and elsewhere. She received an MFA from New York University and is the Program Director of Mass Poetry. When she isn’t writing or agonizing over line breaks, you can find her watching anime and dreaming.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralized global environmental movement with the stated aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse. 

Since its founding in London in 2018, XR has spread across the world, with over 1,000 chapters in 75 nations. XR Boston is now engaged in a campaign to demand Governor Healey declare a climate emergency and stop all new fossil fuel construction in the state. XR Boston is also supporting Green Roots and other East Boston groups in their fight against the construction of a dangerous substation in their neighborhood and has engaged in an effort to encourage local public institutions such as newspapers and museums to address the climate and ecological emergency with the urgency it requires. 

The Folk Collective comprises 12 outstanding musicians, artists, and cultural thought leaders who engage in musical conversations on diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and innovation within the folk music genre. Performances are held at Club Passim and venues in and around Boston and Cambridge. Through an active exchange of ideas and conversation, Passim aims to collaborate with The Folk Collective to present inclusive and equitable events that welcome and invite diverse audiences and artists to the Passim stage.

Explore The Folk Collective’s Work:
Cliff Notez: Genre Bending and the Power of Collaboration

The Good Trouble Brass Band (until recently the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band) is a large, “raucous, stomp-your-foot-and-belt-out-the-choruses” activist New Orleans-style street band based in Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its mission is to fight for social justice causes and support community events while having fun and spreading joy through music. They are also a part of the organizing force behind the HONK! Festival of activist street bands that takes place every October in Somerville’s Davis Square.

Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians (BABAM) tailors its music to each event and may include a mix of performance songs from the street brand tradition, activist sing-along classics, and chant-backing, where the instruments of the band provide acoustic backing to the voices of marchers. Music has always made a difference in the fight against injustice. It is in that spirit that BABAM  shows up ready to play.

Jaimé Yawa Dzandu Raising Voices Festival

Jaimé Yawa Dzandu is a movement artist, choreographer, and educator with roots from Hampton, Virginia, and Wusuta Dzigbe, Ghana, West Africa. She has been committed to holding space for youth and facilitating a learning environment of self-discovery, restoration, and liberation through dance for over a decade. She facilitates year-round programs for the Mark Morris Dance Center, Lower Eastside Girls Club, and Family Arts Movement. As a choreographer, she creates participatory, art-based experiences rooted in an African Diasporic, experimental sacred movement practice. She has presented her choreographic works at 92nd Street Y, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), National Black Theatre, and Movement Research. She is a proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Angela’s Pulse Dancing While Black Fellowship. Additionally, she is a member of the Urban Bush Women as a BOLD Facilitator. She collaborates with artists who explore performance at the center and edges of dance, theatre, and ritual. She holds a B.F.A. in dance and choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.

"I create movement experiences that seek to bring forth restoration, celebration, compassion, stories, and care strategies. I gather with others to co-create ceremonies through performing arts, remembering embodied knowledge, and building collective liberation. My work is an action oriented prayer to turn towards our bodies with more curiosity and reverence."

Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE) uses dance to celebrate Haitian cultural expression and empower young people through innovative dance performance and community programs. JAE is one of the few companies in the world to synthesize Haitian folkloric dance and modern technique. As an ambassador of Haiti and the Haitian, Caribbean, and African diasporas, JAE showcases artistic expression of a specific cultural community.

JAE is proud to call Boston, with the third-largest Haitian population in the United States, its home. JAE conducts community classes, teen programs, and performances in the Boston area and beyond with the goal of enriching and enlivening communities through authentic cultural programming.

Throughout the year, JAE also maintains connections to young dancers in Haiti. In past years, JAE has conducted the Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute in Port-au-Prince. Begun by Jean Appolon in 2006 and based at Ecole Nationale des Arts (ENARTS), the annual Institute moved in 2013 to an open-air dance studio constructed at the Hotel Oloffson. During years in which travel to Haiti is not feasible, young dancers from Haiti participate virtually in JAE youth programming. In 2023, JAE celebrated its 10-year anniversary by returning to Haiti—the birthplace of the Summer Dance Institute! Summer programming in Haiti and the Dominican Republic will focus on Kiltirèl Conexiones (Cultural Connections), using dance to highlight JAE’s shared connections and foster hope for a bright, new future.

The company has been showcased in major arts venues globally and continues to share its artistry in accessible, inclusive ways through free performances in locations like city parks and community spaces. JAE also has performed at many colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Lesley College, and Wheaton College. JAE has been fortunate to share the stage with celebrities such as Danny Glover, Henry Louis Gates, and Edwidge Danticat, and to collaborate with community partners such as Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) and Central Square Theater.

"Raising your voice as an artist is making sure that people can hear you clearly, while also ensuring the work is impactful to community members near and far."

Repertoire: https://jeanappolonexpressions.org/performance

The Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums (MCV) was established in 1982 toward the close of the Bicentennial by Boston-area musicians who wished to further explore the traditional repertoires of the regimental fife and drum corps associated with the European or American armies during the American War for Independence, 1775-1783. Today, they have evolved into a repertory ensemble performing martial, dance, and folk music drawn from 17th, 18th, and early 19th century sources in America and Europe as well as contemporary compositions. Ultimately, MCV is about history and music, education and entertainment.

Members range in age and vocation from 16 up, students to aerospace engineers, school teachers to pharmacists. All participate on an avocational basis, balancing “real life” with weekly rehearsals and more than 30 performances yearly, and share a common love for music and performance.

"When one thinks about the war for American Independence, they typically think of socioeconomic rebellion, political maneuvering, and the establishment of a new form of government never seen before in the modern world. There was also the rise of a new sound of music, the birth of a new purely American sound."


Mortal Beasts and Deities Raising Voices Festival

The larger-than-life puppets and splendiferous stilt dancers of the Mortal Beasts & Deities have performed internationally. While founded in 1995 in the northwest corner of Connecticut by artistic director Mark Alexander, they mostly perform around New York and New England.

No two shows are ever alike. Sharing their controlled mayhem in all manner of venues, from street fairs to religious services to techno raves, Mortal Beasts & Deities stilt dancers adopt characters in custom costumes designed to support event themes.

"My mother always said my big mouth would get me in trouble my whole life, and she wasn’t wrong, but I felt vindicated when representative John Lewis said 'get in good trouble, necessary trouble.'"

Naomi Westwater (they/she) is a queer, Black-multiracial singer-songwriter from Massachusetts. Their work combines folk music, poetry, and spirituality. Their hope is that through ritual and storytelling they can aid nature in the end of capitalism and the return of community, creativity, and collective joy. 

Naomi holds a Master of Music in Contemporary Performance and Production from Berklee College of Music and is a part of the Club Passim Folk Collective. They were nominated for a 2021 and 2022 Boston Music Award for best singer-songwriter and have been featured in Under The Radar, WBUR, Vanyaland, WGBH, Allston Pudding, and The Bluegrass Situation.

Explore Naomi Westwater’s Work:





“Much of this release feels like Westwater giving us a taste of the American songbook filtered through her own experience. She’s equally adept at blues, soul, jazz, and even a little country-fried balladry...”
— Allston Pudding

“On her EP, Feelings, she explores her complex, and complicated, identity, then asks listeners to ponder their own place in the world.”
— Americana Highways

Nnenna Loveth (they/them) is an Igbo lesbian poet, dancer, and facilitator who descends from a powerful ancestry. Nnenna resides on occupied Massachusett territory, colonially known as Boston, MA. They believe that storytelling is healing-magick and ancestral veneration. When they witness their ancestors are pleased. Nnenna has been writing for a minute and is learning more about their voice each year, but they are proud to share that they’ve had a partner piece featured on Button poetry, a poem featured in WBUR's ARTery, VIBEs, and in held.zine. Nnenna published their debut chapbook, Already Knew You Were Coming, with Game Over Books in January of 2022, and is a recent Mass MoCAAssets for Artists Cohort member (2023). When Nnenna is not writing they’re probably dancing, sitting under a tree, or reading about Love. Follow Nnenna on Instagram at @pleasure.as.compass.

Rara Bel Poze's music is characterized by its energetic rhythms, infectious melodies, and vibrant instrumentation. Their repertoire includes traditional Haitian folk songs, as well as original compositions that blend elements of reggae, jazz, and Afrobeat. The band's use of acoustic instruments, custom horns, and drums creates a rich and dynamic sound that captivates audiences and gets them moving.

One of the band's strengths lies in their live performances. Rara Bel Poze's shows are known for their high energy and crowd engagement. The band members' passion for their music shines through in their stage presence, creating an electrifying atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression on audiences.

Their dedication and talent have not gone unnoticed. The City Councils of Boston and Randolph, Massachusetts, recognized Rara Bel Poze for their outstanding contributions to the local community and their exceptional performances at events such as the Boston Caribbean Carnival and J'ouvert. The band's commitment to social causes is also evident in their participation in events like the Walk for Hunger, Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns, and Haitian Flag Day celebrations.

Rara Bel Poze has had the opportunity to share the stage with well-known bands and perform at renowned venues. These experiences have further solidified their reputation as a must-see live act. Their performances have garnered attention not only in Boston but also in various cities, states, and even Canada.

Rara Bel Poze is a modern Haitian street band that has successfully brought the vibrant sounds of Haitian culture to life through their music. Their dedication to their craft, powerful live performances, and commitment to social causes have earned them a well-deserved reputation and a growing fan base.

Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir Raising Voices Festival

Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir are an award-winning, radical performance community from New York City. They have performed all over the world, on many kinds of stages and in various stages of trespass. Their work lies at the unique intersection of  art, activism, and spirit. They have campaigned for 20 years against militarism, racism, extractive industry, and the overwhelming threat of Capitalism to the life systems of Earth. They perform regularly at EarthChxrch, their home space on the Lower East Side. Their highly original content is prescient and moving, addressing the complexities we carry with us during this time of climate crisis.

Reverend Billy (aka Bill Talen) is a New York City-based activist, performer, and author who has spent the better part of the 21st century preaching on the evils of consumerism and the crisis of The Earth. Reverend Billy developed his outrageous character preaching on the streets of Times Square and has since become an international activist figure. 

The Stop Shopping Choir, a radical performance community of singing New Yorkers directed by Savitri D, stage creative actions around the world. Over the years, The Stop Shopping Choir has performed in the lobbies of countless banks, The United States Congress, The Christmas Parade at Disneyland, and Monsanto’s corporate HQ as well as many popular theater, music, and festival spaces. They move fluidly between protest and art, performing with punk squatters, in museums, and on stage with Neil Young.  They have received the Obie Award, The Alpert Award, and The Edwin Booth Award, among others and are the subjects of multiple documentaries including Morgan Spurlock's What Would Jesus Buy?

Thea Hopkins Raising Voices Festival

A member of Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, performing songwriter Thea Hopkins calls her music Red Roots Americana. She has been described as a “standout writer” by the Washington Post. In June 2023, Thea was a showcase artist at the International Indigenous Music Summit in Toronto. She received an artist award in January 2023 from the Newport Festivals Foundation in support of her new album, to be released in January 2024. The social justice organization Music To Life selected Thea as a 2023 juried artist. Her program, "In The Roundhouse: A Celebration of Traditional & Contemporary Indigenous Music," debuted in Providence, Rhode Island,I in 2021. The Great American Song Contest selected her as the Grand Prize winner in 2021. Her song was selected from more than 1,900 entries from 42 countries. Thea's album “Love Come Down” was nominated for a 2019 Indigenous Music Award in the folk category. Western Arts Alliance selected her as a 2019 Native Launchpad Artist, a multi-year artist development program. She was also selected as an artist resident for the 2019 Wichoie Ahiya Indigenous Singer Songwriter Intensive at the Banff Centre For The Arts in Canada. The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation awarded her an artist fellowship in 2017. Venues where Thea has performed include Massey Hall, Banff Centre For The Arts, Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Americana Festival, the Atkinson, Woody Guthrie Festival, Moseley Folk Festival, Summertyne Americana Festival, Greenbelt Festival, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and Bluebird Cafe. She first came to wider public notice when Peter, Paul & Mary recorded her song "Jesus Is On The Wire" in 2004, and then again in 2010 with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. It is considered one of their later signature songs.

"We are all witnesses to the human condition. I simply put my observations into song."

Explore Thea Hopkins Work: 
"Lilac Sky" from performance recorded at the International Indigenous Music Summit 
"Whatcha Gonna Do (When The Rain)"
The Ghost of Emmett Till” 

Veronica Robles Raising Voices Festival

Veronica Robles is a Mariachi singer, musician, and Latin American folkloric dancer and choreographer by trade and has become a cultural icon for the Latino community in Boston. She has effectively utilized the power of arts and culture to bring communities together. Robles raises awareness about the importance of diversity and empowers youth by employing them and teaching them about their roots and cultures.

Robles founded Boston’s First All-Women Mariachi Band. The mission of this group is to deliver a message of peace and unity in all their public performances. In 2019, Robles released a new music album entitled Cuando Sale La Luna, recorded with her all-women mariachi band and produced by Willy Lopez.

Robles started her artistic career as a Mariachi singer at the cradle of Mariachi groups in Mexico city when she was 14 years old, learning this tradition from Mariachi elders. Since then she has traveled worldwide promoting her Mexican roots; she has performed in venues such Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. She is a Neighborhood Salon Luminary at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and a Celebrity Series of Boston Neighborhood Arts program artists. Throughout the year, Robles and her All Women Mariachi band performs at countless events presenting shows for their wide audience. 

Robles is Co-founder and Director of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center that supports community action and economic growth in East Boston and offers Latin American arts and culture programming and provides jobs for youth.

She was honored with the national 2021 Changemakers Award presented by the Institute of Non-Profit Practice. In November 2019 Robles received the Ohtli Award. This Award is one of the highest and very limited distinctions given by the Government of Mexico. In 2022 she was selected as one of the top 10 most influential Latinos in the USA by the national television network Univision in the category of “Visionaries.” 

Robles is a woman of courage and principles; as a cancer survivor she lives her life to the fullest, filled with joy, passion, and love. Her work honors the memory of her only daughter who passed away as a teenager.

"I use my art form as a tool to express my concerns about social and racial problems. Protest art inspires people to take action and builds community. As an artist I focus on conquering people's hearts to help soften their minds and encourage them to learn, celebrate, and embrace diversity."

Wah Lum Academy, located in Malden and Quincy, Massachusetts, teaches basic training including Kung Fu exercises, hand forms, weapons forms, self-defense applications, free sparring, as well as the philosophical aspects of Wah Lum Kung Fu. Students are taught at the rate of their own abilities, and with this methodology, a high standard of Kung Fu is achieved. Advanced training is also available for those who seek a higher level of knowledge and achievement, including advanced forms and weapons usage, advanced self-defense, and application techniques.

Wah Lum Academy is led by Chief Instructor Sifu Mai Du. Eighth generation of the Wah Lum Tam Tui Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu Style, she has been practicing kung fu and tai chi for 35 years and teaching for more than 25 years under the instruction and guidance of Sifu Bob Rosen, Chief Instructor of the Wah Lum New England Headquarters in Boston and Grandmaster Chan Pui, founder of the Wah Lum System in the United States. Sifu Mai is one of the few female certified Wah Lum instructors and kung fu instructors in the Greater Boston Area. She has competed locally, nationally, and internationally, winning a gold medal in 1994 and silver and bronze medals in 1994 and 2001 in China. 

Sifu Mai strongly believes that kung fu is a form of fitness for all ages and practicing it can greatly benefit the body, mind, and spirit, as well as promote physical and mental health, self-discipline, self-confidence, respect for self and others, fellowship, and hard work. A Tufts University graduate, receiving both a BA and M.Ed, Sifu Mai especially advocates for children and young people learning kung fu as a form of exercise and self-defense to positively guide their development to healthy and socially aware adolescence and adulthood. The traditions that are rooted in the kung fu culture are so rich and grounding to one’s identity that Sifu Mai is proud to be one who will help continue these traditions with the generations to come.

Through kung fu, Sifu Mai hopes to foster healthy and caring citizens, and thus a healthy community. Sifu Mai also practices Yang Style Tai Chi and Qigong. She believes that the internal art of Tai Chi and Qigong should be practiced alongside kung fu to harmonize the internal and external energy forces and to bring balance to the hard and soft. The ultimate goal is to be in harmony with one’s own body, energy system, and the surrounding environment.

Sifu Mai is very involved in various nonprofit organizations in the Greater Boston Area including formerly serving as a board president of the YWCA Malden and as a U.S. delegate to the International Women’s Conference and the YWCA World Council Meeting in Kenya in 2007. She also formerly served on the board of the Asian American Civic Association. Currently, Sifu Mai is on the board of directors for South Cove Community Health Center, Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition, Asian Community Development Corporation, Maria Droste Counseling Services, and the United States Dragon and Lion Dance Federation.

Raising Voices Festival Artist Village

Inspired by the theme of the Raising Voices Festival, the Artist Village will explore mutual aid as a form of protest through community building. Protesting has always played an important role in the progression of society. However, a protest can only do so much if a community is not at the center of it.

As seen in movements like The Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast program, working as a community to address a need can strengthen the commitment to a cause and create a ripple effect of change. Mutual aid has also played an important role in making sure those on the front lines have food and supplies, like in the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

The ultimate goal of the Artist Village is to provide a safe space for connection and opportunities for all involved. In the Artist Village, artists and vendors will be encouraged to barter with each other, which will allow them to build connections and grow their network. Festival attendees will also be invited to participate in the Mutual Aid tent, where they will be able to connect, trade goods, and share stories.

The Raising Voices Festival Artist Village is organized by Tammi Jean Fedestin, Owner of Cosmic Zo! and Co-Founder of Creatives of Color Boston, and Charlene Browne, Masters Student of Arts Administration at Boston University.

Click on an image below to explore just a few of the artists who will be taking part in the Raising Voices Artist Village.

Revolutionary Street Art Activation

Echoing the Power of  Protest, Revolutionary Street Art Activation invites you to participate in the activation of Washington Street as we turn it into a work of art.

Join us in transforming Washington Street into a canvas of Revolutionary Street Art Activation. Experience our participatory 'Butterfly' installation, encouraging contemplation on immigration-related themes. Engage in communal drawing at our two art stations and chalk art, prompting thoughts on why Washington Street needs activation. Discover “Cares & Chairs,” a unique public art pop-up showcasing working artists' voices from the museum world through the Behind VA Shadows Project.

By merging visual art exhibitions with hands-on activities, we are not only activating the physical street space but also fostering introspection, cooperation, and community development.

Revolutionary Street Art Activation team comprises Amor Diaz Campos, Julia Martorell, Paige Roehrig, and Yolanda He Yang ’21, the founder of the Behind VA Shadows project, all integral members of Boston University's Arts Administration graduate community.

Food & Drink - Raising Glasses

Democracy Brewing
Bon Me

Festival attendees will have the opportunity to taste delicious food and drink provided by local businesses and partners.

Join us at the Beer Garden on Summer Street created by our friends at Democracy Brewing. There will also be a Bon Me food truck on Washington Street.

New England Revolution Soccer Activities


On Saturday and Sunday, visit New England Revolution's booth on Washington to enjoy games for people of all ages and meet fan favorite mascot, Slyde. They will also have a giveaway for prizes like jerseys and tickets!

Raising Voices Presents

On both Saturday and Sunday evenings, Revolutionary Spaces will host two special events at Old South Meeting House! Advance tickets to these event are required. Click below to learn more and purchase tickets now.

Photo by Linda Mindaye. Courtesy National Park Service-National Parks of Boston. copy

BLACK in the cradle of liberty

Sunday, September 24, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM

Great Hall at Faneuil Hall

"BLACK in the cradle of liberty" is a declaration featuring: DJ WhySham, Nnenna Loveth, Ryan-Rei Fielder, Crystal Valentine, Tim Hall, Ifé Franklin, Danny Rivera, Porsha Olayiwola, Anastasia Wade, Cakeswagg, Javonna Corbin, and Kenard Williams. The performance explores agency, voice, and the power of place.

The program is curated by and features a newly commissioned poem by Boston's Poet Laureate, Porsha Olayiwola.

For more than 250 years, Faneuil Hall has opened its doors to dialogue and debate centered on the founding questions of this country—What does liberty mean? Who is included—or excluded—in our visions of liberty?

This event is made possible through a partnership among the National Parks of Boston, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, and the Museum of African American History, with generous funding from the Mayor's Office and the National Park Service Civil Rights Interpretation & Education Fund.

The performance is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to register for tickets online.

Photo by Linda Mindaye. Courtesy National Park Service-National Parks of Boston.


Registration for this event has closed.

Get Involved

Volunteer Opportunities
If you’d like to be a Festival Volunteer, sign up here for more information.

Community Partners & Corporate Sponsors
Raising Voices will highlight community partners and local businesses. If you’re interested in being a vendor or sponsor, please contact Revolutionary Spaces Director of Events & Corporate Partnerships Shkeya Brittle at SBrittle@RevolutionarySpaces.org.

Thank You

Produced by Jonathan D. Secor and Lai-Lin Robinson.

Revolutionary Spaces thanks Meet Boston and the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID) for their generous support.

Many thanks to the Lowell Institute for their additional support for this event.

Boston Tea Party 250th Anniversary

Revolutionary Spaces thanks our Boston Tea Party 250th Anniversary Commemoration Transformational Partner Meet Boston Foundation for supporting transformational experiences in this critical anniversary year.