"Diversity is the solution to prejudice. And not just diversity as in different types of people in one big
room for a social gathering. Those same people have
to get together at each other’s dinner tables, be there
for each other during the best and worst of times, and witness every day personal circumstances to understand and respect each other’s choices and beliefs. Prejudice
of any kind comes from people simply not knowing each other beyond the surface.
I write because through my voice, I can give a view of
my community no research or statistics could ever provide. It’s my way of getting people to my dinner
I come from a place often overlooked for its ingenuity. Grandmothers of extraordinary faith and principle, uncles who give life lessons no book
could ever provide, women who feed families with a magic wand, and
children with out of body talent that convinces you they've been here
before! I have been among women of unconditional love and dedication
and unbreakable men of endurance under the most dire of circumstances.
A priceless education and experience.
Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and homophobia all involve the same behavior. But rather than become angry and counter-productive, you
have an obligation to show pride in who you are and educate others on
what they don’t see in the mainstream. Because you are the window
people look into to get a glimpse of the unknown. Not only that, you miss
the lesson when you focus on the negativity rather than the beauty of your experiences.”
These thoughts are not surprising coming from the poet who wrote:
“If I could not be Black, I’d be blue.”
Tina Battle's notable career as a creative writer began with being name
Poet Laureate of Alexandre Dumas Elementary School on Chicago’s south side as a sixth grader. The winner of several city and statewide writing contests, she soon began to integrate performing arts with her writing
projects and became a playwright prodigy after writing, directing and producing several stage productions with her elementary and high school classmates as the starring casts. She attended Chicago Vocational High School and by age seventeen, had piloted five plays as writer, director and actress. Since, she has become one of Chicago's hottest traveling spoken
word artists/poets and rarely leaves the stage without a standing ovation.
One audience member commented after one of her spoken word performances: "She is second only to Maya Angelou."
Tina’s exposure as the poet nick-named Wisdom began during the tenure
of Rituals, a historic poetry venue in Chicago’s South Loop. In her signature poem, Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Brotha’, she encourages listeners to realize the positive attributes of African-American men rather than uphold the negative images society often perpetuates. She is also known for enlightening poems such as I Know Your Story and If I Could Not Be Black, all of which urge audiences to recognize the strength struggle rewards. In her poem
The Last Poets, she pays tribute to the poets of the 70s while emphasizing
the connection between traditional poetry and hip hop.
She was a featured poet in a Chicago production of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam, a lead actress and poet in And Then There Was Poetry written and directed by Naima Dawson, and performed in the 2004 Chicago production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. She has shared the
stage with legendary poets such as The Last Poets, Gwendolyn Brooks,
Sonia Sanchez and has performed at Chicago's landmark venue House
of Blues (Meeting of the Rhymes).
Tina also has a professional career in philanthropy which includes earning
She started Battlestar Communications in 2006 through which she works as an independent consultant. Her services include strategic communications planning, grantwriting, website writing/organizing, special events planning, publication development and media outreach.
In April 2011, Tina was among an elite group of 50 business, civic and philanthropic leaders honored as part of the 50th anniversary celebration
of Urban Gateways. She is a proud alum of the organizations artist residency programming within Chicago’s urban elementary schools and believes wholeheartedly such opportunities to participate in artistic programming changed the course of her life. Tina’s work in the philanthropic sector came full circle in 2012 when she joined the Sue Duncan Children’s Center as its Director of Development.
She participated in the Center’s programming while a student at Shakespeare Elementary School back in 1983 and is now leading a multi-year process of institutionalizing its fundraising and outreach functions, which had previously been run solely by volunteers. She will play a significant role in developing and implementing the Center’s overall fundraising strategy, including its capital campaign to open additional sites in other south side communities in Chicago.
A graduate of Columbia College/Chicago, Tina earned an interdisciplinary degree in Journalism and Professional Writing and has been published in
the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Defender. She authored an editorial published in the Chicago Tribune acclaiming her alma mater, Alexander Dumas Elementary School, for its excellence in providing artistic and academic alternatives to at-risk students. Her first-hand account and sharing of her personal success story was motivated by her learning the school was on a list to be shut down during a budget crisis within the Chicago Public School system. The school was taken off the list after this and many other protests.
Tina volunteers for several nonprofit arts programs, is a Public Allies Tomorrow’s Leader’s Today Honoree, a member of Publicity Club of Chicago, Chicago Association of Black Journalists, Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy and the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League.