Executive and Artist Director of YEPP
Bonsai Bermudez completed a Master's Degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Puerto Rico with a concentration on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) issues. During his time in school he complimented his course work with research studies and internships using movement, theatre, music, and visual art as a therapy, community engagement-building, and healing-transformative tools. They have been working in the social justice-service field for over 15 years with a main focus on trauma, transformative and restorative justice, and harm reduction practices.
Prior to entering graduate school, they completed a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre and Dance and have worked professionally as a ballet/modern dancer and actor. In their show business career Bonsai became a part of Ballet Teatro de Puerto Rico, Conservatory of Ballet Concierto, Broadway Dance Center in New York City, Traveling Theatre of Puerto Rico, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, among others. In 2006 Bonsai had the opportunity to facilitate a series of community theatre based workshops around domestic violence issues with female identified adolescents in Puerto Rico that ended in a full theatre production that was played for community members and different stakeholders.
In 2010 Bonsai joined Orgullo en Accion as a Board Member to politically advocate for the Latina/o LGBTQ Community in Chicago. Bonsai also worked for five years at the Broadway Youth Center, an organization that mainly serves LGBTQ youth experiencing housing instability in Chicago, in which the last three years performed as the Drop-in and Resource Advocacy Manager.
Bonsai is currently working as the Executive and Artistic Director of Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP), a program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness to explore their history, investigate new ways to address their struggles, and celebrate their strengths throughout the process of developing a theatrical performance piece. Through his work in YEPP, Bonsai has had the opportunity to travel around the country bringing awareness about LGBTQ youth homelessness issues and engaging communities for social and systemic change. Under his work with YEPP, he has been awarded with the True Community Award by the True Colors Foundation in NYC, and the Artistic Expression Based in Another Medium Award by the Esteem Awards 2015 in Chicago.
Bonsai is also serving as a consultant to different organizations and collectives around the country that would like to incorporate trauma informed, harm reduction, and art-healing work into their programming, policies, and institutional practices. As an individual that believes in transformation and healing, they have nurtured a personal-professional career integrating harm reduction, trauma informed principles, transformative and restorative justice, drama and dance therapy, art therapy, body-mind integration, and life balance integration. He is quadrilingual (Spanish, English, French and Sign Language) with a strong interest in multicultural issues.