9th Annual Y.O.U.th Summit Addresses The Need to Train, Encourage and Celebrate Our Young People

pdxsummit@gmail.com; 503-781-5313

Press Release

Portland, OR: In the months post-Ferguson, young people around the country are galvanizing, protesting and demanding to be listened to. With the theme, “If Not You, Then Who? Be the Change,” the 9th Annual Y.O.U.th Summit provides mentorship, encouragement, and training opportunities for young people and adults of all ethnicities in the Portland area to cultivate their budding leadership and organizing skills. The summit also showcases youth talent with prizes that reward them for having the courage to perform.

“There is no other opportunity like this in the Pacific Northwest,” says Imani Muhammad, award-winning community activist and founder of Youth Organized and United to Help (Y.O.U.th), organizer of the annual Y.O.U.th Summit. “We are focusing our empowering workshops and activities through the lens of Hip Hop, which is a culture and ideology that is woven into almost every aspect of an urban young person’s life.”

WHAT: 9th Annual Portland Y.O.U.th Summit
WHEN: February 6 & 7, 2015
WHERE: Blazers Boys & Girls Club, 5250 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland
TIME: Youth Talent Showcase (Feb. 6) is at 6:30 p.m.; Summit registration (Feb. 7) starts at 11 a.m.; Workshops begin at 12 p.m. 

This year, the Y.O.U.th Summit – in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Portland Metropolitan Area – is also providing an occasion for parents to celebrate their black children, whether biological, adopted or foster, as a counter narrative to the reality that black life in Portland and around the country is often devalued. In partnership with the Y.O.U.th Summit, the “My Black Sons & Daughters Are Worthy” project, organized by creative revolutionist S. Renee Mitchell, will offer the community an empowering, community-based art performance using music, movement, song and poetry, written by Portland parents, all intended to express love for their children. The Regional Arts & Culture Council funds this celebratory project.

The summit’s keynote speaker is Salih Muhammad, a 22-year-old graduate of the University of California Berkeley and executive director of the Afrikan Black Coalition, a statewide collective of Black Student Unions that seeks to organize, mobilize, and empower black students, staff, faculty, and alumni. For most of Salih’s life, he has been critically engaged in a number organizations, struggles, and movements that attempt to elevate the condition of humanity and young people across the United States.

Concluding the Y.O.U.th Summit will be a “Be The Change’ concert, featured local talent Mic Crenshaw, Blacque Butterfly, RoseCity Mischief, Talilo, and DJ Grimrock. Key sponsors for the summit include the University of Oregon Journalism and Communications Department, which is committed to more sustainable outreach outside of its downtown Portland campus in order to build capacity for community storytelling. Other sponsors include KBOO Radio and the American Friends of Service Committee.

Muhammad founded the first Y.O.U.th Summit in 2007 in response to the inner Northeast Portland shooting death of 14-year-old DaVonte Lightfoot, a Benson High School student and one of Muhammad’s former students. The summit provides an atmosphere for youth and adults to experience a high level of reasoning and “edutainment” while also exploring the five elements of Hip Hop, such as:

 Graffiti, the writing of language or the scribe that documents the history  Emcee, the oral griot, conveyer of the message

 Djing, the heart beat, the drum of the art or movement; DJ comes from the Djembe drum

 B-Boy/Girl, the exercise and the human expression through dance or body movement to keep the body in proper health.

 Knowledge, the reason why we are who we are and where did our roots comes from, what is the beginning of Man and where are we today.

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