From Youngstown to the White House! Local youth in DC

As mentioned on the Delridge Grassroots Leadership site on Tuesday and in a Youngstown Cultural Arts Center e-mail update sent out this morning, a group of local teenagers is in Washington, D.C., right now, “representing Seattle and creative young people across the country at the historic concert ‘A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement‘,” as the Youngstown bulletin describes it, going on to say, “This opportunity was granted by the Grammy Foundation through Kathleen Allen, community arts liaison with Seattle Public Schools, when she was moved by the students’ performance for the opening of their exhibit at the Frye Art Gallery.” They’re the founding youth of Youngstown Records, which recently launched. The exhibit, created in collaboration with Youngstown-based ArtsCorps, is titled “I Wish I Knew Who I Was Before I Was Me,” is at The Frye Museum – free to see – through the end of May. The DC concert they attended, hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, is scheduled to air on PBS tomorrow night (read more about it here). Youngstown Arts Center, in North Delridge, is a hotbed of artistic exploration and talent – keep up with its classes and goings-on here. (Photo by, and used with permission of, Laura O’Quin) ADDED 6:26 PM: ArtsCorps just shared this update from the youth in DC:

Well because of the 3+ feet of snow (more accumulating as we speak, its snowing hard outside the window of the hotel restauarant me and Kev are sitting at) I am finally able to send yall an update. We are stuck in the Best Western with a wide ranging group of incredibly inspired young people. Robbie and I were at breakfast and we decided to try and wrangle all the chaperons of the other stranded groups. We located a rarely used conference room, cranked up the heat and got our National Youth Facilitator meeting on!

We printed out an agenda and got down to business checking in with all 10 chaperons personally, group wise, and travel/weather/food updates. We decided to embrace the group as a whole and provide activities for all 50 of the youth. It was fun to hear from Shawn of the Pea Pod (Black Eyed Peas music academy in LA) and others as we brainstormed activities. Going outside is actually quite treacherous, so we decided on an the indoor activites of; ice breakers, (pun intended) organized video chronichles, writing poetry and taping it on someones back, reading it and then posting it on the wall as art, a dinner break, and finally a talent show with 2 minute slots for youth performers that come from different places, races, classes and ages.

We are naming the event The Perfect Storm, for if the worst storm in 110 years had not hit, and we did not have to overcome many obstacles and challenges including 3 feet of snow and counting, we would not have met Barack Obama, wouldn’t have seen Bob Dylan, Yolanda Adams and other greats sing, couldn’t have talked with Michael Eric Dyson and other nationally acclaimed Civil Rights Leaders in The White House, and we wouldn’t have participated in an EPIC Power of Hope style group beat with over 100 young people from all over the country.

but it did.
and so we overcame.
and were embracing it.
and rockin’ it the only way we know how.
with love.
with patience.
with compassion and overstanding.
with grace.
with youth leadership.
with wisdom and blessing from the elders.

we are representing how we do in seattle.
we are bringing our experience, professionalism, creativity, courage to be and vulnerability, to this space.
to DC.
to this nations capital.

we are all a part of an extended beloved community, committed to doing the work, making art, making music.

we are singing everywhere we go.
we cipher.
we listen.
we respect.
we are interesting, and interested.

we are learning, processing, journeying,


Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and the original Freedom Singers from the 1960’s have been doing this work for years in this country.

They sung out loud for survival and to demand change.

They succeeded

for us.

We sing out loud to continue the movement, and embody our truths.

We make community every where we go, in song, in rhythm, and with love.

A truly unforgettable, magical experience.

But the wind is blowing, the storms are coming, the spirits are talking.

In the words of Gabriel Teodros,

“We got a lot of work to do.”

In Eternal Gratitude,


3 Replies to "From Youngstown to the White House! Local youth in DC"

  • howie in seattle February 10, 2010 (9:54 am)

    The White House concert will be televised locally on KCTS-9 @ pm Thursday (2/11).

    • WSB February 10, 2010 (10:08 am)

      Thanks, if you click through to the PBS site they say 8 pm nationally but I know the local stations have some leeway. I just checked KCTS’s online schedule and it confirms the time you give.

  • Gary Mula February 10, 2010 (7:15 pm)

    I’m very proud of all of you for capturing this moment and stepping up into it. You represent the present and the future. Enjoy this moment forever.. and of course stay safe and warm.

    Bigluv to all of you.

    Gary Mula

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