Introducing Taji: CENTER Youth Event Coordinator

Hello! My name is Taji Chesimet. I have lived in Portland for the last seven years and was not only a political awakening, but also an introduction into the sphere of social awareness. I discovered how to love my blackness, and this city helped me love other peoples’ blackness too.

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This is evident when I started in middle school to make it my duty to build the school’s student council from the ground up. After entering my current high school, De La Salle, the opportunity and necessity for community involvement just increased. The CENTER is the necessary microcosm for hope, since the first time I stepped in — hearing conversations on the American Dream and the ambiguity she posses fill the room. From then on, I have found ways to utilize the CENTER for all it’s worth. Holding workshop installations on the importance of recognizing queer intersectionality with people of color to participating in summer PLACE programs with New York Riverdale high school students, the organic relationships, and outlets for participation are endless.

For the next two years, I will sit at the CENTER, as it’s Event Coordinator and work with local organizations and people to build, facilitate, and support projects that surround the CENTER. This job description was a natural transition for me as I have made strides in holding and participating in CENTER and other organizational events for a large portion of my schooling now. I am really excited for the year as I have a lot of ideas and input I can not wait to share with our coalition — and community.