In collaboration with AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign, Youth Speaks is engaging the young people and local organizations of our national Brave New Voices (BNV) network around the dangers of texting while driving. Texting while driving is estimated to be involved in 200,000+ vehicle crashes each year, often causing injuries and deaths.1 This issue particularly impacts youth, which is why we’re getting involved and working with teens to talk about the risks through their own words.
Youth Speaks aims to deconstruct dominant narratives in hopes of achieving a more inclusive and active culture. Believing that young people have the tools to take control of their lives through language, we encourage youth to express themselves using their own vernacular. Youth Speaks is pleased to play a conduit role between four BNV Network organizations and It Can Wait.
Believing that young people have the tools to take control of their lives through language, we encourage youth to express themselves using their own vernacular.
Using educational tools and statistics provided by the It Can Wait campaign, our BNV partners submitted proposals to host events in their local communities to engage and educate young people about the risks of texting and driving.
After receiving submissions from throughout our national Brave New Voices network, we are pleased to announce that the four finalists for the campaign are:
- Get Lit: Get Lit is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the power of poetic expression to at-risk teens in and around Los Angeles County through a standards-based curriculum, fusing classic literature and poetry with contemporary spoken word performance techniques. Get Lit will hold a series of poetry workshops and an open mic to feature the work of top youth poets.
- MassLEAP Collective: The Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective – also known as MassLEAP – is dedicated to building and supporting spaces for youth to experience the transformative power of their own voices in community with one another. MassLEAP will host a series of poetry writing workshops in communities around Amherst, MA.
- Word Beats & Life: Words Beats & Life offers free, vocational arts programming for youth in the District of Columbia. Word Beats & Life will host four workshops with spoken word poets to create poems, rap songs and video PSAs, as well as school based performances.
- WITS: Writers in Schools (WITS) engages youth in the power of reading and writing. WITS will develop a series of performance poetry workshops and presentations in schools.
Stay tuned for more updates throughout early 2015! Want to follow our national conversation? Follow @ItCanWait and @YouthSpeaks and take the It Can Wait pledge against texting while driving at ItCanWait.com. To learn more about Youth Speaks, please visit YouthSpeaks.org.
1National Safety Council, Annual Estimate of Cell Phone Crashes 2012.