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YLAB Celebrates Upcoming Publication with Virtual Open Mic

September 25, 2020

Kelsey Savignano reads from her piece.

Students from across Boston tuned into YLAB’s virtual open mic to share pieces around the theme of self-identity (joined by a few 826 Boston staff and service members in the audience).

Ever since their first meeting on a chilly day last winter, 826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board (YLAB) has been working with unwavering enthusiasm to amplify the voices of fellow Boston students. When YLAB’s spring plans to publish a book by June were derailed by Covid-19, the board took advantage of the extra time to call upon students across Boston to submit their stories, prose, and art to the publication. Centering around YLAB’s chosen theme of self-identity, the anthology provides a space in print and interpersonally for young writers to celebrate, reflect upon, and share their own identities. 

Recently, YLAB held a virtual open mic as a way for students to gather and share their work. Students tuned into cyberspace from across the city. Camerah oates’ gave a sneak peak reading of her piece, “Who I Am” which will be featured in the anthology. “Who am I? I am the color of my skin that is rich in melanin. I am the coils of my hair which make other people stare. I am my love for sweets because something sugary just can’t be beat. I am my ancestors who were stripped from their homeland. I am my love for all things poetry. I am my love for animals who never bothered me. I am my love for the water, those stereotypes tell me I shouldn’t know how to swim.” 

Camrah oates shares her piece at the open mic.

Over 15 students shared pieces selected for publication and related to the theme of self-identity. Kelsey Savignano, whose piece, “Thoughts and Questions in My Head” will also be published in the anthology, read her work as well. “If I follow my gut, I’m wrong. If I follow my brain, I’m not smart. If I follow my heart, I do the opposite. If I follow directions, I’m not true to myself… Why does everything I say go unnoticed? I am a ghost in a lonely house. Why does everything I’m looking for become hard to find, searching for a needle in a haystack.” 

Kelsey Savignano reads from her piece.

The publication will include the work of Camrah and Kelsey, as well as 19 other students across Boston. Below, the full list of authors to be published in the anthology: 

Asiyah Herrera (YLAB)

Kaylany Vicente (YLAB)

Zariah Eisner (YLAB)

Helen Oluwayemi (YLAB)

Marangela James (YLAB)

Zada Stuart American Girl

Eliza Carpenter Hated

Amina Abdirahman      Muslim in America

Marisol Rondon My Latino Self

Arianny Ramos We are Latino!

Stephanie Tranduc Defined By Me

Maya Koreth A message from my culture

Camrah oates Who am I 

Ivanna Castro An Afro Latina

Pin Yi Chen Field Trip Across the Ocean

Franklin Dominguez Against all odds

Tariq Charles Who are you? 

Khaiyrah Herrera Who am I?

Kayla Monteriro Nosey Much 

Kelsey Savignano Thoughts and Questions In My Head

Claudia Santos Cardoso The Strongest Love

Marlon Perez Gonzalez Things to Remember 

Vanessa Antenor Who am I

 As YLAB’s Editorial Board writes about the upcoming book and their work this year, “we live for ‘limitless expression’, motivating other youth, so they can achieve whatever they want by seeing themselves in positions of power and activism.” A very big congratulations to all the students that will be featured in YLAB’s newest publication! Follow YLAB on Instagram for updates on the book, applications for their next student Editorial Board, and book reviews. Plus, watch out for their podcast, Excuse My Culture, dropping next week! 


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