Rise Up and Shout! Empowers LGBT Youth
We mentor creative LBGT youth in a multi-step process:
Beginning with an audition, we find out if the youth are ready to speak and have something to say.
A workshop process follows, where the youth speak out with their creative pieces, and work with a community elder in the workshops, and with the workshop group itself, to ‘build out’ (or create from scratch) their pieces.
A culminating workshop is held, which is a kind of ceremony, where the youth speak to their most important issues, where they want to go, and how their creative voice comes through in their struggle, and...
The performance event itself takes place, where the youth present their creative voices to a community audience that comes to Rise Up And Shout specifically to hear the voices of the next generation.
There are many opportunities in Los Angeles for people to perform. Rise Up and Shout! gives its participants an opportunity to risk finding their authentic voice and thereby themselves. Hip-hop artists attempt their most edgy pieces. Dancers go for the performance that is not necessarily their “presentation best”, but their most heartfelt. Musicians find the ear of a muse they did not even know they had.
What can I expect?
Authenticity. Joy and struggle. Community. Mentoring. Fun. Rise Up and Shout! is staffed with community activists, artists, and leaders who have made a name through their courage and their honesty more than their connections or their competitiveness. We range in age from 21 to 89, and we’ve covered many generations of queer history. We love working in community, and want to give youth the welcoming they deserve.
How does it go down?
LGBT youth audition. This is not so much a competitive process as a process of getting to know you, your readiness to speak out, and what you have to say. After the auditions, selections are made, and the youth and the Rise Up community gather in a series of three to four workshops where people get to know one another, speak out about the issues we all face, participate in group dialog and exercises, and work on their creative pieces. The performance event is then held, where the youth present their pieces to a community audience of activists, leaders, spiritual practitioners, youth workers, other youth, and, yes, a celebrity or two. Following the event, a mentoring program is set up for those who wish to participate, where the youth pair with an adult or elder from the workshop process, meet on a regular basis, and form a relationship where the youth are able to continue to grow and learn in a community setting.