LA gathers to hear student voices at “I, too, am America”

An audience of close to 200 packed into WeWork Fine Arts building in Downtown LA for I, too, am America, a student presentation of stories + art, on February 16. The community gathered to hear students from nearly 20 schools across Los Angeles share their perspectives on the major political issues of our time, introduced by LA Times Editor-in-chief and publisher Davan Maharaj, PBS SoCal COO Jamie Myers, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar.

This event was the culmination of a project centered on themes from the iconic Langston Hughes poem, “I, too.LA Times High School Insider and PBS SoCal’s Student Reporting labs partnered with Mendez High School and artworxLA to create a series of election-issue stories and art that reflect student perspectives. Over the course of two months, 16 student writers and 16 student artists from across the city worked together to explore their place in the evolving American landscape. PBS SoCal and HS Insider featured the pieces they created online, and on February 16, students presented this work to the community–live–in poems, spoken word, animation, video, art, and original song.

Looking for More ‘I Too Am America’?

Explore student projects, catch PBS SoCal #BTS blog post, discover the night in snaps, and read a spectator’s reflection.

The night in photos, below.

I Too Am America
Packed house for ‘I Too Am America’ event,

I Too Am America Davan Maharaj LA Times
LA Times Editor-in-chief and Publisher Davan Maharaj introducing the event.

i too am america ana guerrero
Ana Guerrero reads a letter to her cousin as Mitchell Huntley performs an original underscore composition on the piano.

Read and listen to Ana Guerrero’s letter here.

I too am America Alexia Sambrano
Artist Alexia Sambrano describes her artwork, inspired by the Luis Valente’s written piece on the theme of immigration.

Read More from Luis Valente here.

I Too am America Victoria Navarro
“We have already built walls to create a division of color, and it is essential to tear these stereotypes apart in order to fix our community. I am not your generalization.” – Victoria Navarro, student writer

Read More from Victoria Navarro here.

i too am america new american family
Student Reporting Labs students Keala Naipo and Megan Trevarthen prepare to introduce their video report,
“New American Family.”

I Too Am America Hector Galeano
“People ask me about my plans for the future. I tell them I would like to be the first Guatemalan-American President of the United States” — Hector Galeano, student writer.

Read More from Hector Galeano here.

I Too Am America Ashley Bronner Daniel Baranda
Artist Ashley Bronner with Daniel Baranda as he closes out the night with his original song, “Si yo fuera presidente.”

Read More from Daniel Baranda here.

I Too Am America Event
(Most of) the “I, too, am America” crew.

Special thanks to our many wonderful partners at the following organizations: HS Insider, artworxLA, 826LA, and schools: South East, Granada Hills Charter, CHAMPS (Charter High School of the Arts), Mendez, St. Genovieve, Corona del Mar, East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy, Orange County High School of the Arts (OCSHA), LA River School, Etiwanda, Social Justice Humanitas Academy, and Daniel Pearl Magnet.

About LA Times HS Insider. About PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs. About artworxLA.