Youth Poet Laureates and Judges
ANNOUNCING OAKLAND’S 2017 YOUTH POET LAUREATE:
Lucy is 18 years old and graduated from Oakland Tech in June 2017. She is part of many local communities – as an athlete, a young woman, a white ally, a poet, and a proud Oakland Native. For the past three years, Lucy was a first-place finalist in the OUSD Martin Luther King Oratorical Festival. She was also an Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist for the past three years, and the runner-up in 2016. Lucy writes poetry for herself, but also to spin controversy into something easily digestible, to create a web of people who realize togetherness can make necessary change, and to call people forward.
Congratulations, again, to all our 2017 Finalists:
Miles DeRosa, student at Oakland School for the Arts
Emma Linnéa Hardison, student at Oakland School for the Arts
Leila Mottley, student at Oakland School for the Arts - 2017 Vice Laureate
Lizette Navarro, student at Skyline High School
Krysia Olszewska, student at Piedmont High School
Amaya (Bayleaf) Wilson, student at Oakland School for the Arts
MEET OAKLAND’S LAUREATES:
- Azariah Cole-Shephard, 18, Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy - 2016 Poet Laureate
- Tova Ricardo, 17, Bentley High School - 2015 Poet Laureate
- Sophie Elkin, 18, Oakland School for the Arts - 2014 Poet Laureate
- Obasi Davis, 17, Berkeley High School – 2013 Poet Laureate
- Stephanie Yun, 18, Skyline High School – 2012 Poet Laureate
We are very grateful to all our past judges for their time and their dedication to Oakland youth. See our 2017 judges here.
Oakland Youth Poet Laureate 2018 Judges
Azariah Cole-Shephard, the 2016 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, is what many refer to as a poet-activist. Recently she created an outline for her organization, performed nationwide, taught at multiple institutions of higher learning including various high-schools and Stanford University, received a Resolution from the City of Oakland, and more. Azariah spends her free time mentoring youth, volunteering, photography, learning from members of the Black Panther Party and grassroots organizing. She is the founder of Melanin Elevatin Black Literacy Program and is currently working on expanding the program to meet a wider range of needs in the community.
Originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, Innosanto Nagara is the author and illustrator of social justice themed children’s books A is for Activist, Counting on Community, My Night in the Planetarium, and The Wedding Portrait. He is also a founding member of Design Action Collective an Oakland-based graphic design and visual communications studio dedicated to serving the Movement for social change. In his spare time, he trains and teaches martial arts at Suigetsukan, a collectively run dojo, also in Oakland.
Karla F. Brundage is a poet, essayist, activist, performer, teacher and beach lover. In 2001 she received a Fulbright and spent a year in Zimbabwe. She has one collection of poetry Swallowing Watermelons. After teaching English in Cote d’Ivoire for three years, she returned to Oakland as an MFA candidate in Poetry at Mills College where she is the Community Engagement Fellow.
Maggie Andrews has dedicated her career to raising resources for organizations where youth development, arts and culture, and social justice intersect. Her interests have led her to work in Baltimore, Boston, and for the past eight years, the Bay Area. She currently serves as the Director of Development for 826 National, which aims to open a new writing and tutoring center in Oakland in collaboration with Chapter 510. She is fortunate to call Oakland her home and is a proud board member of the Center for New Music in San Francisco.
Robert Paige is an Organizer at Californians for Justice (CFJ). He is a CFJ alumni born and raised in Oakland and a father of two beautiful girls. After experiencing first-hand the injustice of our education system, Robert realized how critical youth development is and aspires to empower youth of color through his experience. He is a multi-talented artist that embodies the culture of Oakland through his poetry, theatre, and music. He incorporates his artistic creativity in his organizing. He challenges himself to think outside the box and also step outside the office.