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Lisa Loving of The Skanner News
Published: 29 July 2010

Anael and Cordeta of USA La Familia perform during the 2009 Youth Summit, Julie Keefe photo

One of Northeast Portland's most important institutions for empowering youth gears up this weekend with the Y.O.U.th (Youth Organized and United to Help) Peace & Unity Fest, Aug. 7 from 1 to 7 p.m. at the M.A.C.E. Center parking lot at 126 NE Alberta St.

The annual fundraiser fueling the winter-season Youth Summit, this year's fest will dispense with the lectures and speakers to roll the sound system over to a new lineup of young poets, musicians and artists.

"This way I really wanted it to be a fundraiser but also at the same time to just get the community out and enjoy each other and the musicians and support the local artists in the area," said founder and organizer Imani Muhammad.
Listen to an interview with Imani Muhammad about the event here

Imani Muhammad

The 2009 winner of The Skanner News Drum Major for Justice Award, Muhammad said performance groups such as the Black Market/La Familia have grown into community-building institutions in their own right, and they will have the chance to show that in their own way next Saturday.
Both the Peace and Unity Fest and the Youth Summit come from that basic philosophy.
"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," Muhammad says.
"I think the issues are still the same – I mean you have educational issues, you have lack of resources for the youth just as a city," she said.
The first Youth Summit was held in 2007, after the street killing 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.
Last year's Youth Summit workshops included national recording artist 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 event drew a record crowd to the Portland State University campus, and wrapped up with a Michael Jackson-themed talent contest.
The biggest annual fundraiser for the Youth Summit, next Saturday's event showcases new hip hop and acts including Rose Bent, Black Market, F.I.Y.A. and longtime favorite, poet Ro Deezy.
The event is an outdoor festival with tables from local businesses and grassroots organizations. A $5 entrance fee goes toward paying for the next Youth Summit in February of 2011, and school supplies collected at the door will be distributed to neighborhood kids
"Starting around 1:30 p.m. we're having local artists performing pretty much back to back, in between some DJ music and some raffle prizes and certain public service announcements," Muhammad said.
For more information on how to volunteer or financially support the 5th Annual Youth Summit contact Imani Muhammad at 503-781-5313 or via email at [email protected]. Visit their website at www.youthsummit09.blogspot.com.


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