Michelle Mush Lee

Poet and narrative evangelist

Michelle Mush Lee is a published poet, narrative strategist, and pioneer of spoken word pedagogy. A Harvard University Project Zero Fellow, Mush is frequently a featured speaker on the intersection of emergent cultures, racial justice, and solidarity movements, and women of color in leadership. Mush serves as the Executive Director of Youth Speaks, a national youth development organization recognized as an exemplary arts education group representing Arts in America for the 21st Century. After serving as the former Vice Chair of the City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the City’s Funding Advisory Committee, in 2019 Mush was invited to serve as the City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Division as a Cultural Strategist-in-Government (CSIG), where she worked with city departments to infuse policymaking and practices with radically creative and culturally-competent thinking and problem-solving to promote civic belonging. Her advocacy has helped move $2.5M in arts grantmaking resources back into the hands of Oakland BIPOC artists, collectives, and youth development organizations imagining racially just systems. At her core, she is a Korean American writer and child of voluntary immigrants, who has thrived by telling, and retelling, her story.