Youth Spotlight: Meet Bianca & Maliha

  1. Tell us about the work you do?

Stay Woke is a youth non-profit organization striving to promote a culture of social awareness through creativity. Ultimately, our goal is to amplify youth voices and build a community of youth change-makers. We do so through various projects and events, including an annual open-mic + gallery event, Framed: a digital arts magazine, the Get out of My Head podcast, Stay Aware: a multimedia discussion circle, and #StayWokeSundays (informative graphics surrounding social issues). 

  1. What inspires you? 

Our inspiration stems from our personal passions for both creativity and social change. Initially, our desire to advocate for important social issues, especially through creative mediums such as poetry, art, photography, and more, sparked the Stay Woke concept. With our very first open-mic event, we found that other youth shared this sentiment. Resultantly, our desire to provide youth with unique opportunities to develop their perspectives on social change through the exploration of their creativity continues to inspire us, because we are them. 

  1. Why is advocacy important to you? 

Advocacy is a root from which actions of social change can branch. It allows us to see beyond our own circumstances and challenge a broader narrative. You begin to understand the intersecting roots of social problems, realizing that social justice begins in your own backyard.  Without advocacy, ignorance may remain the primary barrier inhibiting the implementation of policies that allow for seeable change. 

  1. What is a message you want to share with the world?

Overall, we want to spread a message that emphasizes the importance of youth involvement in global and social discussion. Youth are the future and provided with appropriate resources and support, we can start positively shaping that future now. Stay Woke is supported by the pillar of the community, which enables youth to connect with new people and share ideas. Ultimately, creativity and community catalyze importation conversations helping youth to take action as social change-makers.

  1. What sparks joy in your life?

Bianca: Using creativity to influence others sparks joy within me positively. I find so much fulfillment in creating a piece of writing or artwork to shift perspectives simply by sharing my own. Exploring my own creativity provides me with the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone, gain a greater awareness of myself and reflect on the social world around me.  

 

Maliha: Connecting with community sparks joy in my life. Through community, I can connect with others, learn from their stories and share my own. Community gives me strength and teaches me how to be resilient in the face of adversity. Community challenges me to broaden my perspectives and continuously find ways to improve myself.