The 3rd Annual Rising Voices Youth Summit is just around the corner on Saturday, April 21. To learn more about the amazing things in-store at this community-wide event, we checked in with Riley Hamner, a student at City High School and one of the amazing young adults helping to coordinate the event.
Teens, it's not too late to get involved! Join the Rising Voices Coalition to contribute your skills and knowledge, help plan the event, and meet your peers (did we mention there's free pizza?). Next, share your visual art, poetry, dance, music (and more!) at the Reception and Arts Showcase on April 20, then plan to attend the Summit on April 21. There's no better time to exercise your right to be heard, valued, and respected in politics, education, and your community!
How long have you been coming to the 101Space?
I started hanging out at the Library after school shortly after I entered City High as a freshman. I started volunteering at the Library shortly after. All told, I've been regularly going to the 101Space for about a year and a half.
I've even had the opportunity to lead a few workshops over the past year, including gemstone soap making and Kool-Aid hair dye. I also help run other workshops and daily activities like Dungeons & Dragons and Code Club in the afternoons.
Why did you decide to join the Rising Voices coalition?
To be perfectly honest, I didn't know much about Rising Voices, but a friend encouraged me to attend one of the meetings. I really felt that I could use my skills and learn some new ones in the process of helping to plan the event.
What have you learned about working as part of a team to co-create an event?
I've realized that it can difficult to make sure everyone's opinion is heard while still making progress, especially during shorter meetings. Our team leader, Amelia, has been great at condensing our ideas into action items.
What would you tell your peers about Rising Voices and why they should attend?
I think that this event serves an incredibly important purpose in that it allows teens to work towards something that (hopefully) dozens of people will attend. We want youth to know there's a place in our community where their voices are not only heard, but valued. This year's theme is Know Yourself! Know Your Rights! and will allow us the opportunity to draw upon our experiences to get involved, network with others, explore ideas, and step up to the plate.
What would you like other young adults to know about being active in their community?
Youth are often told that our opinions and voices don't matter because we're "inexperienced." One of the goals of Rising Voices is to get people, especially younger people, to realize that they can still make a difference. Our experiences do matter and we should be empowered to draw upon them.
Do you love your library? Why?
I love Joel D. Valdez Main Library. From my very first day in the 101Space, I've been treated with kindness and respect from the wonderful staff. I see that same kindness and respect given to every customer who walks in day after day.
What are some of your favorite (all time or recent) books?
My top book list would have to be Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, the book the recent Steven Spielberg movie of the same name is based on; The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness, is a fantastic, stereotypical coming of age/fantasy story with a comedic, cynical view of the genre; Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple is a somewhat intense story that feels so real and relatable in the writing; Coraline is a suspense novel by Neil Gaiman. The story is intriguing and will keep you divided the whole time through. It is a great book if you like mild horror.