Bio: CJ Suitt -Poet Laureate, LGBTQ+ Educator, Transformative Facilitator

CJ Suitt (he,him/they,them) is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer from Chapel Hill, NC, whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice. CJ co-directed, produced, and starred in a historical reenactment of the 1947 Freedom Rides, performed at many national and local music festivals, including Gnarnia, Shakori Hills and Bonnaroo, and acted in a production of Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments. His career as an educator has allowed him to work with young people awaiting trial at the Durham Youth Home, older inmates whose voices have been silenced within the Orange County Correctional Facility, and high school and college-aged men pushing to redefine masculinity in their schools and communities. Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as Transplanting Traditions, Benevolence Farm, and Growing Change on the intersection of storytelling and food justice. CJ most recently appointed as the first Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill. He is committed to speaking truth to power and aims to be a bridge

Programs:

The Selfie Project 

Selfies are often thought of as cheap or vain. What would happen if we flipped that idea and viewed them as serious tools for deep reflection, social engagement, healing, and learning about our bodies? This work is an extension of my own personal healing journey to love my body where it is and pairs self portrait photographs with original poems. This is especially important in the context of self harm and suicide rates climbing amongst our youth.

Beyond the Binary

CJ will use poetry and spoken word to explore topics of identity, body positivity, and community building in this interactive LGBTQ+ program and workshop.