Youth Speaks


Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks is a national BIPOC-led organization and leading presenter of Spoken Word performance, arts education, youth development and narrative change programs. Trailblazers of local and national poetry slams, festivals, and cultural campaigns, Youth Speaks offers a comprehensive slate of literary  programs for youth to be amplified and heard. 

Youth Speaks prioritizes working in schools and neighborhoods where young people have been systematically disinvested in and disconnected from civic life and access to arts and culture resources. In these spaces, we make the connection between spoken word poetry, youth development, and civic engagement, while enriching young people’s educational, professional, artistic, and leadership skills. Nationally, Youth Speaks is the lead convener of the Brave New Voices Network, a thriving ecosystem of 20+ youth voice organizations and leaders across the country.

Our work lives at the intersection of Arts Education, Public Presentation, Youth-led Cultural Organizing, and Youth Narrative strategy. As we respond to the challenges and opportunities of each generation, we are guided by the simple yet radical belief that young people matter—that our shared stories can and will build narrative and cultural power to create a world in which young people are heard, honored, and connected through creative ecosystems of interdependence and care. To learn more, visit
Youth Speaks