2019 Writing for Peace Online Youth Summit
Theme: Day By Day, Hand in Hand: Seeing & Creating Peace in Daily Action
This year’s summit will focus on the power of individual, community, and grassroots activism, exploring what we as individuals can do in our day to day lives to work toward the peace we all desire and deserve.
Join young artists, writers, and activists from around the world in conversation about the matters you care about in this online gathering. Our keynotes, young people making significant change in the world, and submitted creative work from participants, invite open and caring conversations about peace and activism in our troubled times.
2019 WFP Online Youth Summit Keynote Speakers
Born in historic Prince Edward County, one of the five counties in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, Cooper is a 2006 graduate from both Southside Virginia Community College and Prince Edward County High School. He has lived in Virginia his entire life, except to attend college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Long before Taikein could drive, he was canvassing throughout Virginia’s communities as an 11-year-old to help elect his D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) teacher, Travis Harris, as Prince Edward County’s Sheriff.
During his college years, Taikein led various political action committees, served on the prestigious Chancellor’s Search Committee and even led a grassroots effort to Jena, Louisiana, calling for justice for the infamous Jena Six. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, he returned to his true passion, fighting for the betterment of the people of Virginia. As a counselor in a correctional center in Chesapeake, VA, Taikein saw first-hand how political decisions affect the social welfare of constituents.
Most notably in 2012, Taikein ran in a special election for Prince Edward County Treasurer at 24 years old. Throughout his campaign, his age remained a hot topic, since many young adults are not active in political affairs.The trials that he faced in his campaign, coupled with young people becoming energized, inspired Taikein to engage them in both his campaign as well as teaching them how to chase their dreams. At 25, Taikein was asked to run for US Congress in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.
Taikein resigned as the Chief Executive Officer of a private behavioral agency, which served nearly 100 clients throughout the Commonwealth to enhance his personal consulting firm. Since the 2012 special election, he has been speaking at universities and colleges, community rallies and other local institutions across the nation about the importance and power of young adults in today’s political environment and the importance of living for YOU.
Taikein is the Executive Director of Virginia Excels, an education advocacy organization that focuses on educational equity by amplifying the voices of students and families. He also co-hosts the socio-political podcast, Ain’t No Free Lunch, with Ms. Danielle Greene.
Hazel Edwards is an artist, community advocate and educator. She holds multiple positions, all with the goal of working towards racial and trans liberation. She is incredibly passionate, outspoken, and dedicated to her work. Hazel works as The Educator and Outreach Specialist in The Bryson Institute of The Attic Youth Center. Hazel has presented and led workshops in Philadelphia and across the country for hundreds of service providers and youth on gender, sexuality, racism, and antioppression. She also co-facilitated a 9-month high school social justice internship, where she taught 18 interns on systems of oppression and organizing skills. In 2016, Hazel was instrumental in co-authoring the School District of Philadelphia’s Policy 252, which created protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students. She then went on and worked as a Research Assistant at The University of Pennsylvania for 6 months, in which she analyzed data collected through interviewing transgender students in the Philadelphia public school system. Hazel’s work does not stop there. She is also a member of the Young Adult Leadership Housing Advisory Committee which advises the City of Philadelphia on how to best address youth homelessness. As well as, being a core member of The Black and Brown Workers Cooperative which addresses racism and anti-blackness in the community. Hazel has been recognized for her work and advocacy with the following awards and titles: Featured in the National Liberty Museum’s Young Heroes Outreach Student Guidebook 2018, Featured in Logos New Now Next Young Leaders 2017: The Next Generation Of Trans Activists, Featured in Teaching Tolerance Magazine Fall 2017, the keynote speaker for 5th Annual LGBTQ Stonewall National Education Conference 2017, Creating Change Youth Leadership Award 2017, the keynote speaker for Philadelphia Trans March 2016, the Girls Rock Philly 2016 PhillyRising Award, the Youth Rising Star Award at Philadelphia Trans March 2015, and Youth Grand Marshall for the 2014 Philadelphia Pride Parade.
Jason Tsai is currently a cook at Proper Pie Co. in Richmond, VA and a poetry editor for K’in Literary Journal. He was formerly an urban agriculture fellow and food distribution coordinator at Tricycle Urban Ag. There, he worked on urban farms to grow and distribute organic produce through corner store partners for food desert communities. He specializes in the art of making “good” food that is responsible to the soul and to the earth.
Marni von Wilpert
Marni von Wilpert is a San Diego native. She graduated from Scripps Ranch High School in 2001, and she is a 2005 graduate of UC Berkeley, where she received a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies. She served in the Peace Corps in Botswana, Africa from 2006 to 2008, working on treatment, prevention, and care for children and adults living with HIV/AIDS. Marni graduated from Fordham University School of Law in New York in 2011 where she won best brief and best oralist in a Moot Court Competition and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 2011 and she was one of 28 young legal professionals nationwide to be awarded the Skadden Fellowship for Public Interest law, where she worked with the Mississippi Center for Justice to create the first HIV-related civil rights law practice in the state to provide free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS facing discrimination in employment, housing, and access to healthcare.
Marni was a Law Clerk from 2013 to 2014 with Hon. James E. Graves, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, and also worked as an Adjunct Professor at Mississippi College School of Law teaching legal writing, research and analysis. From 2014 to 2017, Marni worked in the National Labor Relations Board’s Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch, where she enforced labor laws in the United States Courts of Appeals. During 2016, Marni served as a Labor Policy Detail to the U.S. House of Representatives for Congressman Robert C. Scott in Washington, D.C.. Marni then served as an Associate Labor Counsel for the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., monitoring and evaluating federal and state legislation and regulations affecting workers’ rights, wages and working conditions.
Marni moved back home to San Diego in 2017 and was admitted to the California Bar in 2018. She now works as a Deputy City Attorney in the Civil Litigation Division of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. She is a graduate of Emerge California and is running for San Diego City Council in the 2020 election cycle.
Online Summit Date: Saturday, October 12, 2019, 8am-6pm EST
Submission Deadline: September 15, 2019
Age Requirement: Our primary audience remains people aged 18-30. In previous years, participation was limited to this demographic, but, this year, in a desire to promote quiet, caring, respectful cross-generational conversation, something we believe is needed now more than ever, no such age restriction applies. Our keynotes will continue to feature young activists, but we invite cross-generational conversations, hoping that we may all learn from each other.
Fees: There is no fee for participation in this summit, thanks to a generous grant from the American Democracy Project at Longwood University in Virginia, United States of America.
Participation: In order to provide a safe environment for participants to express themselves, this event is closed to the public. Participants are invited guests and will be given the password for admittance to the Summit following the acceptance of their submissions.
In this online summit, 50 participants will have the opportunity to submit and present their creative work in the following areas: Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Music, Theatre, and Dance.
We also specifically welcome multilingual translations of original work.
For Summit Submission Guidelines and link, Click here.
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