Oakland Public Library Announces Finalists for the 9th Annual Youth Poet Laureate

Release Date

Fri, 05/01/2020
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Oakland, CA – The Oakland Public Library is proud to announce that six talented young poets in Oakland have made it through a competitive process to represent their town.   

One of these young poets will be named the 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate in June and will receive a $5,000 college scholarship awarded by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.  

Launched in 2011, the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program celebrates the authentic voice of young people (ages 13-18) living in Oakland to showcase their talent and leadership skills.  

 Samuel Getachew, who took home the 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate award said, “The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program has taught me to both trust and value the worth of my own voice.” 

As last year’s Laureate, Getachew has toured Oakland and performed his poetry in front of community groups, schools, and has even had the opportunity to interview acclaimed author Tommy Orange.  He will attend Yale University in the fall. 

 The 2020 finalists are:  

  • Chiana Griswa, age 16 

  • Greer Nakadegawa-Lee, age 15 

  • Hunter Jackson, age 14 

  • Jordan Tisnado, age 18 

  • Michelle Arango, age 17 

  • Siara Edmond, age 15   

 This year’s program will be judged by a curated panel that includes: author, musician, educator, community organizer, and freedom fighter Tyson Amir; poet Rae’Chel Stanley; Middle School Assistant Dean of Students at Lighthouse Community Charter and The Beat Within Facilitator/Editor Evelin Avila Torres; Poet Laureate of El Cerrito, CA The Reverend Dani Gabriel; and spoken word poet Tino V. H. Jr. 

Stay up to date on events and appearances with the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate by liking facebook.com/YouthPoetLaureate or visiting oaklandlibrary.org/youthpoets

The Youth Poet Laureate program is coordinated by the Oakland Public Library and supported by a broad coalition of partner agencies across the Bay Area: Chapter 510, Write-to-Read and the Alameda County Library. The Friends of the Oakland Public Library finances the Laureate’s scholarship which is then administered through Scholarship America.