Co-Founders: Tommy Soulati Shepherd & Kaitlin McGaw
Tommy Soulati Shepherd (he/him/they) is an internationally renowned actor, playwright, composer, educator, rapper, drummer, beatboxer and music producer. Tommy (aka Emcee Soulati) is a longtime member of the performance group Campo Santo who continue to tell stories of the people and Oakland's own Antique Naked Soul-The Soundtrack for Revolution. Tommy has composed, performed and toured internationally with Marc Bamuthi Joseph, collaborating on Scourge, the break/s, Spoken World, red, black and GREEN: a blues and /peh-LO-tah/. Tommy won a 2018 Isadora Duncan Award for his composition work and is a two-time GRAMMY nominee. Tommy brings love for family, art, activism and community building to all of his work. His inspiration and hope for a more joyful and equitable world is felt through the hearts of families everywhere.
Kaitlin McGaw (she/her) is a writer, listener and artist based in Oakland, CA on Ohlone lands. Her path in anti-racism and art began as a high school student in Belmont, MA, where community dialogue, activism, and poetry framed her purpose and relationship with the world. Kaitlin is a graduate of Harvard University with a BA in Afro-American Studies. She is also a two- time GRAMMY nominee, an artist fellow and a deeply committed partner for change, often stepping back for others to shine, and stepping up for truth and our collective humanity. Kaitlin believes radical imagination begins with the way we read, sing, and ask questions of the world with our children. She is the mother of two creative children of her own, whom she is raising with her husband Adhi.
Youth Rockers: Lillian Ellis, Kali de Jesus, Tommy Shepherd III & Maya Fleming
The middle school aged artists of Alphabet Rockers (Lillian Ellis (she/her), Kali de Jesus (he/him), Tommy T3PO Shepherd (he/him) and Maya Fleming (she/her)) have extraordinary experiences as featured artists in Alphabet Rockers, from performing on GRAMMY-nominated albums, interviewing on TV shows, touring the country, and writing and recording in the band's Oakland studio after school. In their latest song composition, they write: “We got strength - it’s in our community / We got power - that’s unity / Standing up on your shoulders / Lifting our voices higher!”
Alphabet Rockers listen to young people and make space for their truth to lead us forward. The music inspires our young people to be loud and proud of who they are, and inspires evolution in peers, children and adults alike. See the impact of our youth in 2021’s CBS This Morning story. This is not just the future, this is the now - young voices changing the course of history through arts and activism.
Choreographer & Co-Host of Creative Club (her/she)
Dancer & Teaching Artist (she/her)
DJ + Co-Host of Creative Club (she/her)
Dancer & Co-Host of Creative Club (she/they)
KALI DE JESUS
TOMMY SHEPHERD III
Media Producer (he/him)
Art & Curriculum Director (she/her)
Sozo Artists / Bookings (she/her)
Teaching Artist (he/him)
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