Youth group’s anti-gun violence campaign
Black excellence is celebrated as part of a new billboard campaign to target community violence that is sponsored by Youth Organized and United to Help (Y.O.U.th), a Black-led organization founded by Imani Muhammad, a long time youth mentor and educator.
In an era of gun violence, a COVID pandemic and financial uncertainty, Youth Organized and United to Help (Y.O.U.th) has decided to give its attention to what should be celebrated: Black Excellence.
In a counter-response to the school-to-prison pipeline epidemic that is evident in Oregon and across the nation, 16 billboards are being featured across the Portland area to help shape a more equitable picture of the Black experience by focusing attention on Black ingenuity, creativity and the inspirational potential of Black youth.
"We want our Black youth to know, believe and achieve Black excellence," noted Y.O.U.th's visionary founder Imani Muhammad.
The billboard campaign is part of the initial launch of the Public Safety Village, an initiative overseen by the Portland Opportunities and Industrialization Center and Rosemary Anderson High School, in partnership with 11 grassroots, Black-led organizations.
Muhammad, a former educator and administrator for Portland area Boys and Girls Clubs, including the Blazers Boys and Girls Club, founded Y.O.U.th in 2007 in response to the shooting death of one of her 14-year-old students in northeast Portland.
The billboards, which went up this month, consist of three images: Two promote the group's brand and logo; the third is a backdrop picture of five Black youth with the words "Black Excellence."
Y.O.U.th’s mission is to motivate, inspire and empower youth, family and educators to dismantle the school to prison pipeline by challenging existing systems and structures. For more information, visit youthpdx.org.