YoSOS_Graduation_0193On June 15th, Youth Organizing to Save our Streets (YO S.O.S.) gathered at Repair the World on Nostrand Avenue to celebrate their accomplishments throughout their program year. The venue was packed with more than 70 guests including friends, family, and community members ready to celebrate the young people on stage for the evening. After mingling and eating dinner, everyone gathered for remarks from staff and youth. After opening words from staff members Heather Day, Megan Ollivierre, Rahson Johnson, and David Gaskin, and a slideshow of the year’s memories in photo, YO S.O.S. seniors Isaac and Whitney delivered their own remarks to the audience. Both spoke about the ways in which they grew as individuals and as a family over the course of the year.

Next, YO S.O.S. graduates Malik and Migos took the stage to perform original poetry and raps from the group’s #6feetabove campaign. Finally, each youth organizer was called to the front individually to be recognized and to receive certificates. Each graduate received a certificate of completion from the Mediation Center as well as a certificate of recognition from Senator Jesse Hamilton’s Office. Guests were entered into a raffle and lucky winners left with t-shirts, mugs, and other S.O.S. swag. Scroll down for our slideshow and an excerpt of Migos’s poem.

2016 youthorganizing by Slidely Slideshow

As YO S.O.S. graduate Migos said in his performance: 13432220_985703444811511_5060288323135796504_n

“S.O.S. gave me the chance to flip the frown.
A place to come whenever I’m mad or feeling down.
Something to do whenever you’re friends aren’t around
Or a place to be, when you just need to settle down.

Settling down my area to improve in
My mind moves faster than the neurotransmitters that sends the signals to my brain N’
I’m sick from all the oppression moving like blood through my veins N’
Internal, interpersonal, institutionalized
Everyday I witness my death on t.v
Just knowing that the right bullet – I mean the white bullet – gone kill me
And after I’ve read my eulogy
I hope that finally all of my brothers will be set free

Friendships sink like real ships do  YoSOS_Graduation_0174
My ships still a float but
At S.O.S I expanded my crew
You get to know me and I’ll get to know you,
At S.O.S we’d express how we feel and what we go through
In the studio, or on the mic
Or even around the hood making a movie

We be,
Out in the streets
Saving our peeps
Pushing for peace
Using our gifts,
Our talents, our balance everything that keeps me in tact
S.O.S taught me to respond and not react
A skill Imma need especially cuz of the fact that I’m black

Friendships sink like real ships do
I was in a shipwreck but I made it through