Thursday, December 17, 2009

Portland Youth Summit 2010


The 4th Annual Youth Summit is all day on Feb. 6, starting at 11 a.m. at Portland State University

Smith Memorial Union, with pizza social at 6 p.m. and talent showcase kicking off at 6:30 p.m.
The event, including an afternoon of workshops and keynote lecture by Professor Griff of Public Enemy, is free, and youth participants receive a free T-shirt.

“What we’re adding this year is a Friday night event which is a discussion and question and answer lecture period with Professor Griff from Public Enemy,” says organizer Imani Muhammad, 2009 winner of The Skanner News Drum Major for Justice Award.
She started the event four years ago after the gang-involved fatal shooting of 14-year-old Davonte Lightfoot on North Killingsworth Street.
Lightfoot had been Muhammad’s student at a local charter school, and shevowed to bring the community together to help prevent future deaths.
“The overall intention of the summit is to bring more attention of the city and the adults to our youth, and that’s always been the underlying goal being sparked by the death of a young man who was 14 years old,” Muhammad says.
The Youth Summit boasts twice as many workshops as last year, and more offerings in the talent contest, which is organized by the 45th Parallel Zulu Nation of Oregon and includes a Michael Jackson dance competition.
Muhammad says the format is very similar to last year where the students are placed in a group and then they rotate to each 45-minute workshop.
Workshop presenters and their topics include: Madgesdiq — Who Are You? Discovering Yourself Through Writing; Mic Crenshaw — Make Believe or Real: the War on You; Renee Mitchell, Darlene Solomon (Blacque Butterfly), Erica Tucker — Real Talk, Real Love; DeAngelo Raines — Art Not Crime; Jesse Muhammad — Mediocrity is Not in Your D.N.A; Karanja Crews — 21st Century Movement Conscious Hip Hop; Carl Thomas — Life Beyond High School; Desmond Spann (Dluxthelight) — Hip Hop Motivates.
“If I do my math from last year there was about 80 youth that participated in the workshop, this year I’ve certainly had more outreach and more help, so I’m anticipating maybe 150, maybe 200 total,” Muhammad says.

“As it grows and as more people are involved I would love for this youth summit to grow into a national event where we’re pulling youth and adults and workshop facilitators all across the United States, and that it does grow into more than just one day,” Muhammad says.
“After this summit I really think it’s going to grow this year into more of a spring break program or a summer program that the same individuals that are working on the workshops are able to participate in the spring or summer programs, basically offering the same thing we offer at the summit in one day.” she said. “They get the workshops, they get the empowerment, they get the leadership, but we’re able to expand that throughout the year.”
Muhammad said this year’s growth is due in part to help from city youth advocates and more organizations that are helping out.
“So I think that this year the strength in numbers of the adults that are involved will be able to grow something out of the summit,” she said.
For more information go to http://youth

‘Kicking off Black History Month...Youth First!’

Professor Griff, the “Minister of Information” with the legendary rap group Public Enemy, kicks off the 4th Annual Youth Summit with a free talk starting at 7 p.m., Feb. 5, at New Columbia, 4625 N. Trenton.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Skanner Post the Peace and Unity Fest

The local Newspaper The Skanner has supported and helped in the last year bring public attention to the Youth Summit and The Peace and Unity Fest. We want to thank Bernie Foster and all of his staff for their continual success as a LOCAL media outlet for our Community.

Saturday, February 14, 2009



Youth Summi

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Final Call Article...Saviours Day Edition

Youth Task Force of Portland organized 3rd Annual Youth Summit
By: Alitash Muhammad and Imani Muhammad

On February 7, 2009, the Youth Task Force of Portland, Oregon organized the 3rd Annual Youth Summit “The Future is All About”, in the spirit of the Millions More Movement. The Youth Summit formed after the murder of a young 14 year old Black male January 7, 2007, Davonte Lightfoot. The Youth Summit became Imani Muhammad’s response to her former student’s death. “This is my way of grieving and waking up our community”, she responded.
Over 60 youth filled the college campus of Portland State University engaging in various workshops taught by positive Black men in the community of Portland. The youth were divided into 4 groups and were given a specific schedule based on the group they were assigned. The group names were Hip Hop, Change, Unity and Freedom, which were inspired by the recent election of President Barack Obama’s agenda as well as the influences of the youth generation. The workshops included the history of Hip Hop before Lil Wayne and T.I., Paranoia vs. Clairvoyance – the psychological warfare on our mind, How to use Hip Hop to Motivate and Real or Deal-reality versus illusion. For 35 minute increments, the youth interacted in each workshop; learning knew ideas and concepts to help empower them to become better people in their homes and community. After the workshops, the entire group congregated to bring to a close the afternoon activities. The youth developed an action plan and agenda that will be presented to youth organizations and leaders in the community to assist in preventing the increase in gang activity and recent shootings in Portland as of December 2008.
The 3rd Annual Youth Summit concluded with a Youth Talent Showcase which featured various artists from the Pacific Northwest as well as young stars who are just getting involved as artists. The winner of the vocal contest was crowned the Youth Summit Champion, free studio time with Northwest’s Premier Record Label Jus Family and Executive Branch Management as well as an opportunity to be the opening act for the upcoming show on February 26th featuring National recording artist The Game.
The overall goal for the Youth Summit is to revitalize the importance of our future by nurturing our youth through providing a positive atmosphere for learning, education, empowerment and fun. It took a death for our community to spark our one member in the community to give back to Davonte’s generation. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan says it the best, “If you have lost a child to senseless violence or a family member, remember they did not die in vain, because nothing advances in civilization without the sacrifice of life”.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Skanner Cover Story

Gathering Comes at a Critical Time
Event focuses on workshops, music and political organizing
By Lisa Loving of The Skanner

Imani Muhammad’s annual event supporting young people affected by street violence is right around the corner – and couldn’t come at a more critical time for local kids and their families.
The 3rd Annual Youth Summit is Feb. 7 at Portland State University Smith Memorial Union, 1825 SW Broadway, on the second floor. All activities are free of charge.
This year’s theme, “The Future is All About — Youth Organized & United to Help,” underscores a strengthened agenda of bringing together teens and young adults who will be drawing up their own community development plan to present to elected officials and local leaders.
“What I want to see at the end of this youth summit is that I want to present an agenda to community leaders to adults that are from the youth,” Muhammad says. “For example, if the youth desire a resource center where they learn how to interview for jobs and send out job applications, then we as adults should do all in our power to produce one that’s maybe not in our community or at least enhance one that is already developed.”
The daylong summit also features workshops, which so far include Mic Crenshaw on “Paranoia or Clairvoyance? A Practical and Metaphysical Assessment of the War on Your Life”; Desmond Spann on “Hip Hop Motivates: Staying Focused and Motivated for Success”; Karanja Crews on “Real or Deal — Conscious Rap”; and Xavier Burton, “History of Hip Hop.”
The day ends with a Youth Talent Showcase at 6:30 p.m. with a vocal competition, dance style competition, and a “rap battle.” Each participant receives a gift, with the first place winners in the voice and dance categories also earning gift cards, cds and more. The winner of the rap event receives studio time with Jus Family recordings and a live interview on KBOO Radio.
National recording artist Mic Crenshaw will be performing live.
Registration starts at 11 a.m. Workshops begin at 1 p.m., and will be held on the 2nd floor of the Smith Memorial Union. The talent showcase is in Hoffman Hall at 6:30 p.m.
The first Youth Summit was held in 2007, after the street killing almost exactly two years ago of 14-year-old Davonte Lightfoot, a Benson High School student and one of Muhammad’s former pupils at Victory Middle School in North Portland.
As Youth Summit 09 prepares to open its doors, Portland is reeling from the third fatal youth shooting in four weeks, and a record number of call-outs by the Portland Police gang enforcement squad.
“The initial inspiration was really my answer to the senseless, violent death of Davonte, and it was kind of my way of grieving,” Muhammad said. “So I said, let’s at least give the youth an opportunity to voice their opinions on the issues and what’s going on and what they’re really dealing with, and kind of help bridge the gap between the adults and the youth.”
This year’s Youth Summit is a collaboration between Muhammad’s organization The Traveling Pillar, as well as the NAACP of Portland State University, Zulu Nation-Oregon Chapter, Youth Task Force of the Millions More Movement, and the Jus Family Records, Executive Branch Management.
“The event started with my desire to pull students in the community together to basically voice their opinions in a form where the adults parents and community leaders could sit down and listen,” she said. “From that it developed into more of a workshop-style event, with entertainment — we added a concert last year where we had different local artists and youth artists perform.”
Muhammad says she wants this event to formalize into an institution that can continue throughout the year – and so her priority is to find solid financial backing for ongoing activities. “It’s needed to develop any program to help the youth,” she said.
City officials say they’re renewing their focus on youth violence prevention efforts, but that the ground-level impact of the nationwide economic crisis means no additional funding for youth efforts is likely.
Muhammad believes that today’s youth require a deep, communitywide focus, and they deserve it.
“I have the philosophy that there’s nothing new under the sun, but I would have to say that one thing that they have on them is the pressure of media and Internet and advertisements,” she says. “So they’re not dealing with anything we all haven’t gone through – I mean drugs are still around, suicide, homicide, unemployment – all of those are real and they’ve always affected almost every generation, but I would have to say media is so powerful on the youth generation now more than ever, that I think is what’s keeping our youth from really grasping realistic goals and realistic ideas.”
For more info visit, email, or call 503-781-5313.