Portland Youth Conference Rescheduled
Activist asks for help to make event successful
A winter snowstorm that postponed a youth summit during Black History Month will take place over two days, April 11 and April 12 at Portland State University with a concluding concert at the Blazers Boys and Girls Club.
Portland activist Imani Muhammad is looking for help to make the annual event a success.
Muhammad and her organization Youth Organized and United to Help (Y.O.U.th), has held the Portland Annual Youth Summit, since 2007 after the death of Davonte Lightfoot, a 14-year-old who was gunned down by another teen near the corner of North Killingsworth Street and Albina Avenue.
“That’s when that phrase ‘don’t let anyone die in vain’ became clear to me”, Muhammad says.
This year’s summit was planned for February this year, but postponed because of a snow storm that shut down much of the city’s operations.
Muhammad, currently program director at the Boys and Girls Club and a teacher at the former Victory Outreach Middle School where Lightfoot was one of her pupils, recalls the young boy with fondness, the good, the bad, and the scars.
“Davonte, he had a little swag to him. He had a baby face, but you could tell that he had either been living the street life—had older siblings and cousins that had kinda taught him the game. We’re looking at a 12/13 year-old, but still he hung out with 18-year-olds,” she said.
The summit will provide an atmosphere for young people and adults to tackle violence issues while exploring elements of Hip Hop and historical connections with the so-called African Diaspora through interactive workshops.
Videotaped sessions with popular Fruit of Islam orator Nuri Muhammad and rapper-activist Jasiri X, recorded when they came to Portland for the earlier scheduled event, will also be showcased.
Music at the Y.O.U.th summit will be provided by various youth and seasoned performers in the community including but not limited to Mic Capes and Rasheed Jamal of the three man Hip Hop collective, ‘The Resistance.’ Mic Crenshaw and Madgesdiq will headline a Saturday night concert with features by Swiggle Mandela and Talilo. The youngest of the night’s talents will come from a 6 and 7-year-old dance group.
Muhammad urges the community to support her group’s effort. She says donations are especially needed to offset costs from the earlier postponement, much of which were exhausted in promotion of the event’s February date.
She is also searching for someone who can print up some shirts pro bono; if they are not able to find one soon they may not be able to give a free shirt to participants as they have done every year in the past.
Most of all, Muhammad says she hopes to see the community come out in full support of its young people and have a good time.
--Donovan M. Smith