Photo courtesy of Ellis N Design.

A tribe of scribes and good vibes.

That is the saying that Jersey City resident, Millicent Anash, or better known as Millie, stands by.

Millie is a strong believer that when it comes to expressing your craft–whether it’s comedy, poetry, dance or rap–there is no right or wrong way to do it.

The first generation Ghanian from Brooklyn, has always been fond of poetry, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that she was able to heavily get back into it.

Alma Thomas Childrens event March 2024

“I started to get back into the poetry community through different Zooms and different online platforms. I didn’t know that there was such a great poetry community in Jersey City and in Northern Jersey as a whole,” she told Slice of Culture. “I started to write again and attend different open mics. After I had started to organize my own children events and my own community events. I thought to myself I could create a space where many poets will feel welcomed.”

Millie fell in love with the Jersey City community and even more after becoming a mother in 2018. She was juggling being a teacher, raising a child and doing community service, which was a big part of her life.

When the pandemic hit the community in 2020–like many others–life had drastically changed.

During this time, she realized how important it was to be with family and how volunteer work could have such a positive impact on people’s lives.

She volunteered at places that lacked clothing, dealt with food insecurity and housing problems. It was the work of women of color especially that was very empowering to Millie and to know that she too can make such a difference.

Mocha Mic with Mille event in February 2024. Photo credit: MowZus

All of that inspired her to create a community within the world of poetry where people could find a safe space to fully express themselves and not feel ostracized. That’s when she started Mocha Mic with Millie.

Poets from Jersey City have shared how much Mocha Mic’s events have helped them feel comfortable in the poetry scene.

“Mocha with Millie provides a safe space for anyone to show up and show out their unique talents and express their inner creative self-gift to our Jersey City community,” said Elvin Dominici Encarnación, a Jersey City Community Activist.  

“I genuinely enjoyed being a witness to such exceptionally talented and diverse artists, such as: poets, musicians, painters, self-published authors and more. Millie is a wonderful host, and she embraces everyone who is willing to share their gift with the audience.”

Ann Wallace, poet laureate of Jersey City, shared with Millie how valuable she is to the Jersey City’s poetry community.

“She’s one of those people who is in it for the pure love of poetry—her generosity and enthusiasm are palpable. I was honored when Millie invited me last summer to participate in one of her events,” shared Wallace to Millie back in November.

“The mix of poets and performers—both the features and the open mic participants—was beautiful. Some had performed dozens of times before, while others were standing before a live audience for the very first time – and yet all were greeted with enthusiasm, appreciation and love. That is the welcoming space that Millie creates. Jersey City is lucky to have her.”

But Millie does more than just host poetry events for the community. She has also hosted back to school bashes where bookbags were given out and a pumpkin patch where children had their faces painted and picked pumpkins. 

Pumpkin Patch event on Monticello Ave. October Pumpkin Patch event, Photo credit: Silence ByK Photography

“Living in [the] West Side neighborhood of Jersey City, close to Bergen-Lafayette and Greenville, which are historically underserved communities of Jersey City, allow children to have access to events and access to merriment and joy without having to leave their neighborhood. I believe a zip code should not limit children access to fun things,” Millie added.

“Kindness is transformative. When you spread kindness, it is a ripple and continues on because a person feels good and they can give it to other people.”

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