Spokes is the youth leadership body of Youth Speaks Seattle, as well as Totem Star and the Teen Leadership Program. This crew of 13 leaders commit to a 7-month internship where they lead open mics, writing circles, poetry slams and produce a multi-arts album. They meet weekly for deep leadership development in event planning, public speaking, facilitation as well building their social justice analysis through artistry and cultural work.
Applications for next year’s Spokes board will be released in July.
Meet the 2016-17 Spokes & Teen Leaders
Azura Tyabji is your friendly neighborhood poet warrior. Her pen, laptop, and dizzying array of metaphors are her weapons of choice. That said, she’s not belligerent, just enthusiastic. Seattle born and raised, Azura writes about race and gender, cool historical tidbits and anecdotes she finds, and any other complexity that inspires her. Her goal is to practice imagining a better future (she loves sci-fi, after all!), to foster thought-provoking discussions wherever she goes, and to grow together with her fellow artists.
Ludin mejia Vasquez was born in Guatemala but moved to the United States in 2000. They are now a Seattle base QTPOC artist using art as a form of story telling.
Carlynn Newhouse is an African American poet, activist, and performer. She was the 2015 Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam Champion and competed in the Brave New Voices poetry festival in 2015 and 2016. Carlynn has performed at well known venues such as Seattle Town Hall, Bumbershoot, the Kennedy Center, and others. You can catch her spitting in the annual Youth Speaks Seattle slam series or sharing love and community during the monthly open mics at The Station Cafe.
Emma Conklin is a visual and spoken word artist. Their visual art consists of painting, drawing, and designing t-shirts. They perform poems and have had their art shown at the Wing Luke Museum. They also contributed to a group mural located at the MLK FAME Community Center. Emma’s work is inspired by their community, and uses it as tool to interact with that community. They believe art is an important tool to cope with and enact change in our world.
Ana Walker is a queer woman of color raised in Seattle, Washington. She grew up with a passion and appreciation for writing thanks to her mom who is an english teacher. She found her artist family in the form of YouthSpeaks Seattle when she was 14 and is continuously inspired by their activism, strength, and wisdom. Ana writes to heal, question herself and the society she lives in, and practice vulnerability. She is learning how to examine and get rid of her own bias as well as facilitate social justice discussions and writing workshops. Her accomplishments include: winning the YouthSpeaks 2016 Wild Card Slam, performing at venues such as Town Hall, the Seattle Art Musuem, and Bumbershoot. Her main sources of inspiration are Social Justice Issues and the nuances of growing up.
Born in Hawaii and raised by a family of bad asses, Namaka Auwae-Dekker is a fierce young woman thriving to change the world for the better, whether it be by writing a poem or starting a revolution. She has performed at various fundraisers, open mics, poetry slams, and has been involved in many a things across the Seattle area. Her aspirations include (but not limited to) writer, poet, activist, passionate old woman with no chill, horse back riding archer, professional parkour sumo wrestler, ninja turtle. She writes with her soul and speaks from her gut, Namaka is most certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Abel Berhan // My art is real, abstract, magnificent, powerful, and intense. I’m from Seattle, specifically Burien and White Center, and it has shaped me into seeing the flaws of our equality system in race, class, education system, and safety. Some of my professional artistic accomplishments are: In 6th grade, I was a solo ensemblist for saxophone. I performed a spoken word for a summer banquet. I’m an intern for Spokes. I first inspiration is my older sister Missy. She’s had a phenomenal path through high school and college as the first person in my family to go to college. My second inspiration is Joshua Bennet. He’s created one of my favorite spoken words, and the intense passion he carries in his writing and voice is so powerful. Other than my art, one thing I’m extremely passion about is sports. I’ve had a long history of playing soccer in my past but now run cross country and track competitively across the state. One thing someone wouldn’t know by looking at me is I love and care for my younger brother who is autistic.
Peter Wyvern is a Spokes leader.
My name is Rajean Diaz, born and raised in the Philippines for 12 years before moving to Seattle. I consider myself a poet and a singer, likes to paint when ideas show themselves.
Solomon Bishop is a outspoken youth who partakes in introducing poetry to kids in his neighborhood. He thinks of Seattle being his canvas and space being the limit. Losing friends in the process of trying to create a safe environment, Solomon reaches out to youth his age and brings them along for the ride of protecting our youth.
Totem Star Leaders
Monica Elenes is a California born and Seattle raised young person who is passionate about using her musical gifts to advocate for social justice and the equity of humanity. Monica is an active member in her community and has participated in many programs that revolve around music and politics. Some programs include Spokes with Youth Speaks, Trackademics, OneWorld Now! and she recently completed the Hip-Hop Residency. Monica is on a mission to help young artists embody their gifts to make a real change in the world around them.
King Cobb, also know as Cornelius Cambronero was simply born from a boombox. For as long as Cobb can remember, music has always been apart of him. From practicing Michael Jackson in his room for 8 hours a day, to dancing and performing on tables at family functions, to creating community youth rap programs, to making a name for himself as a rapper, spitting sick relatable bars about social justice issues and the view of the south Seattle community through his eyes. He was inspired to start rapping from listening to his favorite hip hop artist, Logic. After attending one of his shows, Cobb was truly inspired by Logic’s message of peace love and positivity to create music to change the world for the better. Cobb is working towards attending music school after his senior year at Cleveland High School this year, and hopes to eventually starting his own record label with him being the leading artist.
My name is Jah kirby aka Jawzilla on the stage. I love to make music of all kinds and my goal right now is to perform in front of thousands of people but once I surpass that it’ll be some thing bigger. To keep up on the zilla creations check out my soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/jawzilla-1