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Brave New Voices Festival in Berkeley and Oakland today and tomorrow

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 12:37 pm in Education.

About 500 youth ages 13-24 from throughout the U.S. and several countries will converge on this weekend for the Youth Speaks’ “Brave New Voices Festival,” which is the largest ongoing spoken-word event in the world, according to organizers.

It brings together young artists, educators and “emerging leaders” to celebrate artistic empowerment and youth voices.

The festival starts today from 3 to 5 p.m., when the Center for Investigative Reporting and Youth Speaks will co-host a Town Hall meeting at the Zellerbach Hall auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus to discuss issues affecting their lives.

Then from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, the finals of the Brave New Voices Festival will be held at the Fox Theater in Oakland, where guest judges will select the Grand Slam Champion.

Here’s more information from a news release:

“BERKELEY, Calif. – The Center for Investigative Reporting and Youth Speaks announced a new partnership today to bring journalists and the country’s young people together to improve the quality and reach of reporting about the key challenges affecting the next generation of Americans. The goal of the collaboration is to create a hub for 21st-century storytelling, where youth poets and journalists can come together to produce reporting that deeply involves and engages young people.

From immigration and education to health care and the environment, CIR’s journalists and Youth Speaks’ spoken-word artists take on critical issues and communicate them through channels that the public can react to and consume. The goal of the partnership is to bring together these two groups of content creators, providing journalists with deep insight into the topics and forms of storytelling that matter most to young people, increasing the news literacy of youth, and giving youth a central role in how their own stories are told in the media.

‘The Youth Speaks partnership is a unique opportunity to engage a generation that we – and most journalism organizations – have yet to fully reach,’ said Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of CIR. ‘We want to hear directly from young people so that we can better understand the challenges they face in life. We will use that intelligence to inform and evolve our reporting so that young audiences will value investigative journalism and understand the role it can have in shaping their future. We also hope, through this partnership, to work with Youth Speaks artists to translate investigative reporting into their own voices, providing another distribution platform for reporting on the issues they care about most.’

The two organizations will formally launch their partnership this week at Youth Speaks’ Brave New Voices Festival, the largest ongoing spoken-word event in the world, which brings together young artists, educators and emerging leaders to celebrate artistic empowerment and youth voices. From 3 to 5 p.m. today, July 20, CIR and Youth Speaks will co-host a Town Hall at the Zellerbach Hall auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus with 500 young people, ages 13-24, from throughout the United States and several countries to discuss a range of issues that affect their lives. The finals of the Brave New Voices Festival will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at the Fox Theater in Oakland, where special guest judges will select the Grand Slam Champion.

‘The more our youth are engaged in their community, the better, and that is what brings Youth Speaks and CIR together,’ said James Kass, founder and executive director Youth Speaks. ‘We believe that young people can use language to take control over their lives, and we are constantly looking for new platforms where they can express and empower themselves. Civic engagement and investigative journalism are ways for youth to further develop their education and develop confidence in their ability to control their destiny and impact their community…’

About Youth Speaks
Founded in 1996, Youth Speaks is the leading nonprofit presenter of Spoken Word performance, education and youth development programs in the country. Presenters of local and national youth poetry slams, festivals, reading series and more, Youth Speaks also offers a comprehensive slate of literary arts education programs during the school day and after school and provides numerous publication and youth development programs. All together, Youth Speaks works with 45,000 teens per year in the Bay Area and has created partner programs in 60 cities across the United States. For more information, visit www.youthspeaks.org.

About Center for Investigative Reporting
The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s oldest nonprofit investigative news organization. CIR reports reach the public through television, print, radio and the Web and have received numerous journalism awards, including the Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Scripps Howard Award, and Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards. In 2012, CIR received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. CIR reports have sparked federal legislation, policy change at all levels of government, public-interest lawsuits, reforms in corporate practices and a major United Nations resolution. In 2009, CIR founded California Watch, the largest investigative team covering the state. In April 2012, CIR merged with The Bay Citizen, which produces accountability reporting for the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit www.cironline.org.”

What issues do you think are important for youth to discuss?

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  • g

    I wrote an answer to your question, but it turned out to be two pages long—so… even though I have a hard time cutting down my own thoughts:

    Their Attitude toward education, the Economy-looking toward their own futures, and well, their ‘Me-First’ Attitude, period.

    And please, I don’t ever want to have to read my news in a ‘RAP’ cadence. ;)