Nyamuon Nguany Machar (AKA— Moon)February 1 – March 31, 2020
My name is Nyamuon Nguany Machar. For the past ten years I’ve worked to advocate for disproportionate and minority youth in the mental health field. In 2019, I was honored to be the recipient of the rising Advocate award from the Bazelon Center in Washington DC and the Diaspora Award from the Luol Deng foundation for my advocacy work around South Sudan.
Today, I work as a teacher for the Telling Room in Portland, Maine, a writing program that provides young people the space and skills needed to begin carving room for their voices. As a spoken word poet, I work to motivate others to find strength in their voices through creative means. Often I use my own struggle and represent it in my artistry in order to help break down the stigmas that stunt voices. Spoken word poetry and theater performance gave me a voice in the darkest days of my childhood when metaphors and complex descriptions became easier ways to tell my story and the stories of my family and my people.
Being raised by a father who was a child soldier and a mother who hails from one of the oldest countries in the world storytelling was like second nature in my home. My parents used parables, myths folklore and life memories to guide their children in this new world that often tried its best to diminish or buffer their history and culture. This helped to formulate much of my writing style and gave me a sense of responsibility to carry on the tradition of storytelling not only on paper but audibly for people to hear, so quite naturally I began with spoken word poetry.