The Welfare Poets (New York/Puerto Rico)
THE WELFARE POETS began their journey when two Cornell students came together to write poetry/rhymes of protest and upliftment, accompanied by congas (percussions). A band was created from this union with the purpose of using culture as a tool of resistance, and in the summer of 2000, the group released their first independent album “Project Blues.” Since then the group has released 2 other band albums as well as 2 compilations/fundraisers. Over their existence, the Welfare Poets have been cultural activists directly involved in social justice efforts addressing police brutality, political prisoners, the colonial status of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Naval occupation of the island, environmental justice, gentrification in New York City and the death penalty. Through teaching residencies and workshops, activism around community struggles, and sharp-edged performances that incorporate Hip Hop, Bomba y Plena, Latin Jazz and other rhythms, the Welfare Poets bring information and inspiration to those facing oppression and those fighting for liberation.