12-04-2016  6:23 am      •     
Salih Muhammad speaks at the 2013 Black Student Graduation, UC Berkeley

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.

The theme, “If Not You, Then Who? Be the Change,” kicks off the 9th Annual Y.O.U.th Summit, coming up Feb.6 - 7, at the Blazers Boys & Girls Club, 5250 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.

The Youth Talent Showcase is Feb. 6, starting at 6:30 p.m. Summit registration is Feb. 7, starting at 11 a.m. with workshops beginning at 12 p.m.

The event  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.”

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.

Again 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 University of Oregon's School of Journalism & Communication, 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 Service Committee.

For more information and to register go to www.portlandyouthsummit.org.

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