Implicit Bias Educator

Michael ILL Se7en Acuña | Implicit Bias Educator

Michael Acuña, aka Ill Se7en, is a youth advocate, educator, activist, and underground hip-hop artist. He leads implicit-bias workshops for the Office of the Independent Monitor, the civilian oversight agency of the Denver police and sheriff departments. He is a partner artist with Youth On Record and the co-founder of Tribal Zyphers, a program that connects youth to the indigenous roots of hip-hop culture. Michael received Presidents Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative MBK 25 Award in 2016 and the Mastermind Award in 2018. He has two daughters.

The dangers of a single story by Chimamanda Adichie The way she describes the narratives young people of color have to navigate on a global scale was inspiring and reflective. I can relate to how she took back that power by becoming a writer herself. As a poet and musician I feel I do this as well.

What sparks your curiosity?

I’m a seeker of understanding and perspective. Learning is something that never stops for me, hearing the ideas of others gives me perspective and makes me want to learn more on where these ideas come from.

What was the biggest change or turning point in your life, and why? Tell us a story!

Much of the work that I currently do came into fruition after I went to jail in 2008. I was locked up for 4 months over traffic violations. While I was in jail, I began to realize that many of the young men who were locked up with me were in jail for minor traffic violations, but they were locked up with grown men. Many of the young men were playing out roles trying to acclimate and not be marginalized by inmates who had less to loose. I wanted to give back after seeing this.

Hobbies | Passions | Fun Facts

I’m a family man with 2 daughters. I love to fish, camp and travel.