Vanessa Annang DeGuia is a Chicago-born, New Orleans-based Filipina American writer. Vanessa grew up in an apartment building turned extended-family village where 17 family elders raised her with Catholic values and Tagalog talk story. As a teenager,Vanessa developed a passion for spoken word at the birthplace of th einternational poetry slam movement, the Uptown Poetry Slam in Chicago. Vanessa was a part of the original collective for Mango Tribe, an Asian Pacific Islander American women’s multi-disciplinary spoken word theater troupe. She wrote, performed, and produced for Mango Tribe’s two mainstage productions(“Sisters in the Smoke” (2002), “The Creation Myth Project” (2004), as well as Mango Tribe’s national tour from 2002-2005. Vanessa also performed spoken word, song, and dance for Urban Bush Women’s “Are We Democracy?” (2008) Vanessa’s formative experiences as a community organizer,youth worker, oral historian, and crisis counselor for rape survivors deeply inform her art as a tool for social justice, non-violence, and the empowerment of underrepresented people, ideas, and movements.