Youth Roots, currently based at Arise High School, Oakland, California, is an out-of-school program in which “youth earn their rightful place in society by rooting themselves in their community as prominent leaders, culture producers, and change agents.”
Using new media production and literacy skills, Youth Roots members create artistic expressions that are also cultural critiques. As the Youth Roots website states:
Each Youth ROOT develops their agency by learning and getting authentic practice to use concrete skills in spoken word poetry, emceeing, music production, graphic design, digital photography, digital video, digital journalism (via podcasting, digital storytelling, and video production), and event production.
Members of Youth Roots, led by program director G Reyes, have presented at National Writing Project events sponsored by the Urban Sites Network and have presented at the American Educational Research Association.
The video above, Oakland State of Mind, is a recent example of the kinds of multisensory digital compositions developed by Youth Roots. Like Oakland State of Mind, their works embody youth culture, activism, empowerment and critical examination.
Youth Roots is itself a program of Oakland Leaf.