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  • Writer's pictureYouth Voice Matters

Japhety: "Just the Beginning"

Japhety Ngabireyimana is a strong personal storyteller for I Am M.O.R.E. (Making Ourselves Resilient Everyday). His performance, as a part of I Am MORE's signature Resiliency in Rhythm event during the 2020 Fertile Ground festival, allowed him to use fashion to tell his personal story from trauma to resiliency. Learn more about Japhety and other empowered youth of color at

Resiliency In Rhythm's expressionistic collection of heARTivism storytelling revealed authentic journeys of young people in the Portland metro area. Their creative language, which included music, video, dance, song, fashion, multimedia art and spoken word, was grounded in the real-life experiences of these racially diverse performers who have moved past the emotional grip of their suffering and shifted into the depth of their possibilities. They each have been empowered to look more critically at the experiences that have shaped them, so that they can begin to walk through the world, not as victims, but as heroes of their own re-imagined story.

Each performer possessed a unique sense of purpose that has been seasoned by trauma. Their empowering messages are a collective wake-up call for adults to look past challenging youth behaviors – and sometimes, racially based judgments of their potential – and recognize that we are ALL so much MORE than the worst thing that has ever happened to us. And with a little love, support and encouragement, young people have the potential to shift from rough to resilient …and rise UP! For a review of Resiliency In Rhythm, check out

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