Meet Janice Tisha Samuels

Janice is a writer, edtech professional, arts enthusiast, health and wellness explorer and woman who loves to create opportunities and platforms to support people and causes. She is also the founder and director of the National Youth Art Movement Against Gun Violence project whose signature event is a city-wide, interactive art tour that transforms commercial spaces into grassroots, counter-narratives meant to empower our most vulnerable population, our youth.




What don't people know about you?

I used to be competitively athletic up until high school.  At my Catholic grade school in Massachusetts, me and Jennifer B. took our end of the year Sports Day crazy serious. We were the best runners in like 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade and totally knew and owned it. And, for me, excelling at sprinting made me feel connected to my Jamaican roots. I can only imagine now how super cute it must have been to watch us, two little girls in pigtails with ribbons streaming racing down the track with mini-Olympian game faces on. At that time, I loved being a runner and later I got really into basketball, but now I am the farthest thing from being sporty.


What scares you?

What scares me the most is feeling stuck and completely unable to reason my way out of a situation or challenge. During one of those periods in my life, I wrote a poem called “Still Here” that communicates what that feels like to me.


Still Here

By Janice Tisha Samuels.


Stuck. Stuck in place. In place of going. Stuck is


Dreams dislodge. Grow feet. And run.

Even tears escape.


Yet, I’m still here.

Stuck. Stuck in place. In place of going.


What gets you through a rough day?

I’ve learned to let go of my attachments or expectations of things. I think attachments and expectations are what make disappointments the hardest. Being attached to the idea of a certain outcome and not experiencing that outcome is devastating. Like desperately wanting to work with a particular person or wanting to be part of particular event – and then not getting it.

Rigidly attaching to an idea of what life should look is where the pain comes from. Understanding that, has opened me up to not getting too low about anything. That said, I think it’s only natural to feel a little sad about not getting something you wanted, but, what’s more important, is how quickly you can bounce back from that feeling.  The quicker I bounce back is the quicker I take advantage of other opportunities that are out there. And there is always another wonderful moment and opportunity.


What don't people know about you?

I once drove from DC to Blacksburg, VA, which is a 4-hour ride just one way, every Tuesday for an entire semester to take a class with Nikki Giovanni at Virginia Tech because she was my childhood writing idol. She is one of the most fantastic people I have ever met.


What expression or saying do you love?

“Fed up with this ‘not enough women in tech’ debate. Let’s just build shit.” – Yasmine Mustafa


Want more?  Follow Janice on Twitter and follow National Youth Art Movement on Twitter and Instagram



Photo credit: Delfino Photo