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ASCENDtials

Ascendtials Poetry Sessions are a great way to self-express the traumas, macro, and microaggressions we as those in the Black community experience. We use this form of expression to help us heal and vent our frustrations. These sessions are monthly and usually begin in February and run until October. Please check out our past Poetry event with Gill Sotu and friends. If you’d like to partner with us on an upcoming event, complete our get involved form or contact us for more details at info@ascendtials.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Poet Bios

Gill Sotu is a navy veteran, a multi-faceted poet, playwright, musician, DJ, and performing artist.  He is a two-time Grand Slam Poetry Champion, two-time Raw Performing artist of the year, and a three-time TEDx San Diego presenter. Currently, he is a teaching artist and a commissioned playwright with The Old Globe Theatre, a program director and teaching artist with Intrepid Theatre, a CREATIVE DIRECTOR for TEDx San Diego, as well as the Artist In Residence at Makers Church. He has been commissioned to produce original pieces for leading arts and community organizations such as The San Diego Symphony, The Unity Way of San Diego County, Feeding America, SD Fringe Fest, and the San Diego Opera to name a few. 

Anthony Blacksher is the associate publisher of the San Diego Poetry Annual and an associate professor of sociology at San Bernardino Valley College. He received his Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University, exploring the histories, representation, and pedagogical use of poetry in hip hop and black popular culture. He continues to write and perform with the performance art collective bkSoul.

Blake Lucas
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Blake Lucas was born in Inglewood, CA. He spent his early childhood years in Los Angeles County, between Pacoima and Inglewood, moving to San Diego in the 6th grade. Blake would spend the rest of his adolescence and early adulthood between San Diego, Inglewood, and South Los Angeles. 

Growing up, Blake experienced various hardships as the result of his parent’s separation, a lack of academic support, and his struggles with alcohol and drug abuse. Being easily impressionable and not yet realizing his natural ability for leadership, he began embracing a lifestyle influenced by criminality and gang culture in his teenage years. This would lead to over a decade of various criminal cases, countless failed attempts at rehabilitation and cumulatively losing roughly two years of his life to incarceration. 

During his last incarceration, from June 2015 to June 2016, Blake began examining the path he was on and decided to write poetry to express his emotions, experience, and newfound convictions. Those poems would become the catalyst for a complete shift in both his heart and lifestyle. He ultimately organized and published the majority of the poetry he wrote in March of 2017 as “The Urban Intellectual: Poetry for Progress Volume 1”.

Since then, Blake has dedicated himself to developing his literary ability and continuously challenging the depths of vulnerability within the self-expression of his writings. Blake believes in the value and life-giving power of words and uses them to inspire others to stretch the limits of both mind and spirit. This passion has led to the formation of Blake Lucas Inspires, a project founded upon the desire to explore and expand the emotional intelligence of both individuals and institutions through creative writing and harnessing the power of the art of storytelling. 

An author, social activist, motivator, and antagonist of injustice and dysfunction, Blake Lucas is a man whose sole focus is the liberation of lost souls, including his own. Of all his titles, his most cherished callings are those of husband and father. 

Ultimately, Blake hopes to use his gifts to disrupt and dismantle the stereotypical view of people whose lives are characterized by adversity and hardship, especially concerning African-American men. He hopes that by sharing his authentic self, his audience would be inspired by his humanity and broaden their desire to connect with the humanity within us all.