For years the I Love This Place Blog and the CENTER have had a multitude of dedicated young people working to create spaces and opportunities for other youth, participating in programs put on by PLACE and using the space of the CENTER in a variety of ways. This flexible usage of resources of both entities in integral in empowering young people to create visions of their own. However, it has largely also led to a lack of a set demographic or pool of young people to constantly be engaged. That is changing.
This year's cohort of the CENTER Youth Collective have already begun planning, organizing and executing their visions for a more inclusive community. We are happy to introduce the wonderful youth leaders and activists that inform the direction of the CENTER, work independently on social justice initiatives and actively support the work of all youth around the city of Portland. We are looking to incorporate more young people and bring in more voices to augment our work.
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Introducing the newest change-makers of Portland:
Senior at De La Salle North. I stand for intersectional feminism (womanism) as well as black lives. My ethos as a black woman has compelled me to not only advocate for equity for myself but other who too share my identities. Equity and inclusion work is important to me because without this type of work being done no progress will be made: people will continue to be oppressed and conversation that are often tough yet beneficial for both parties will not happen.
My name is Ahlam Osman, I’m 16 years old and currently a sophomore at Madison High School. I like to consider myself a youth activist, and an active member of my community(s). I am a part of a few youth organizations all over Portland/Multnomah County and invest a significant amount of time trying to solve the underlying issues that exist in marginalized communities. I believe that it is important for youth to advocate for their needs/Rights, in addition, I encourage other young people to recognize how much power their voice has. My interests include politics, sociology, and art. During my free time I like to write, paint, or play with my cats!
My name is Carmen Vintro and I am a junior at Lincoln high school. I am the founder and leader of a group at my school called MAD (Make A Difference) Youth that aims to educate students on what’s happening in politics, how it affects them, and how they can make a difference. I strive to incite political action in others and am a passionate feminist and (aspiring) climate change activist!
hello my name is emma cooper. i’m 16 and a junior at grant high school. i spend my time doing social justice and community work. i work with the center, beyond differences (a group against social isolation), and raphael house ( a domestic violence center). most of the time i work i go into schools and run workshops about consent or what social isolation is. i advocate for equity and for mental health in my school and community, i aim to use the privilege i have for the better. at school i go to qsa, bsu and run a club called girl up to support girls in developing countries. i am also beginning a project to implement more mental health education into high schools. in the future i’d like to do social work within jails and prisons. in my free time, i create new projects to express advocacy, play piano, and dance.
I'm Ibrahim, a senior at Oregon Islamic Academy. I love math and reading about history and spend my time watching stand up comedy, thrifting, and working on community projects relating to social justice, specifically educational equality. I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and my parents are immigrants from Sudan, so I basically live in a multicultural household, an African, Muslim, American, English-speaking, Arabic-speaking household.
My name is Jada Commodore! I’m 17 and I’m a junior at St. Mary’s Academy! I enjoy taking photos and spending time with my lovely friends. I am a co-leader of the black student union at my school and enjoy teaching and learning about race and ethnic education. My favorite things to watch are The Office and Coming to America (they never get old!!). I also do continued work with Momentum Alliance and The CENTER. I love making people laugh and making new friends. You could call me a “Blacktivist” and a Tupac enthusiast!
My name is Riya Sivakumar, I’m 16 years old, and a current junior at the Catlin Gabel School. While I’ve lived in Portland for the lads few years I spent a majority of my childhood in New Delhi, India. As the child of two immigrants, that experience allowed me to connect with my heritage and broaden my perspective on the world. I find that I am better able to empathize and that I have a more open-minded approach to my activism. I am a strong advocate for diversity and representation within my community, and I care deeply about the voices of otherwise marginalized communities. In my free time I enjoy swimming, traveling, eating, making music, and spending time with my family.
My name is Semeredin Kundin, I'm 17 and a senior at Lincoln High School. I'm a African-American, Muslim male, and was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but was raised in Portland, Oregon. I love to read and write, and currently have a interest in political philosophy. I also have a strong passion for service-oriented projects and addressing social issues in our community. I believe it's significantly important for individuals, specifically youth to be thoroughly engaged in their community through civically minded activities. As President of my school's Black Student Union and Brothers of Color, I have the opportunity to draw local knowledge from a diverse group of youth and propose practical solutions to issues in marginalized communities. During my free time I enjoy playing basketball, taekwondo, and hanging out with friends.
My name is Taji Chesimet - 16, De La Salle sophomore - I am a vivacious, motivated and self-driven young man, who uses the understanding of self - inside and outside - in larger social identities, to navigate my work. Interacting with people of all backgrounds, to address the most complex and uncomfortable issues with a candid, direct approach. I run a non-profit and am also a youth commissioner where I corroborate the ideology of togetherness and holistic support for all youth in a valuable and organic approach. In my free time I love to snowboard, read, drink chai, and shop.
I am Tamia Miller, and I attend Jefferson High School as a sophomore this year. I try to spend a lot of time in different parts of Portland, exposing myself to different races and cultures. It has taught me to appreciate people that are different than me, and I think that it is really important because our society can be very restricting. I’ve always been very passionate about racial equality, mental health in teens, gender equity, and bullying. I would like to call myself an advocate for those things. I am always open to hearing new opinions, and new ideas because I believe that it takes more than one person to make a change. My personal interests include binge watching TV, writing short stories and poetry, and spending quality time with good friends and good food.
My name is Teddy, and I’m a freshman attending Portland State University. I was raised in Portland, but born in Thailand onto a refugee camp. I am committed to working towards a more just, equitable, and accepting society through volunteer work, community participation, leadership roles, and cultural diversity. I have been involved with organisations such as the Portland Student Action Network, the Oregon Queer Youth Summit, Momentum Alliance, and others. The common theme is to bring youth voices onto the table and into discussions. Youth voices are not as acknowledged but are equally as important to listen to, include, and uplift. I enjoy long walks on the beach, and punching nazis. Leo Sun, Taurus Rising, and Aries Moon.
my name is Tyler White, I am 17 and a senior at De La Salle. born and raised in portland, oregon, I have spent my entire life in the northeast portland neighborhood, historically the most diverse neighborhood in the city. with one of the largest black families in the state, my connection to my family is a crucial and integral aspect of who I am. awareness and understanding of the long, nuanced history of the systemic, political, economic and social marginalization of blacks in this country, created an overwhelming sense of empathy. the ability to empathize has allowed my work to extend far beyond the context of my own racial identity. working across sexuality, gender expression, creed, political affiliation, age, ability, geographic location and socioeconomic status, has provided a profound depth in scope and lens of all of my involvement. intersectionality and equity are the focal point of every action, event and activity I engage in. in my free time, I spend time writing, running, taking photographs, trying new foods and enjoying time with friends.