Mission Statement

Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) is a social justice movement that transforms education. Founded in 2008 at UC Davis by Dr. Vajra Watson, SAYS breaks the barriers of underachievement by elevating the voices of students as the authors of their own lives and agents of change. 

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Partnerships — Past and Present

School Districts

Davis Joint Unified School District
Glendale Unified School District
Oakland Unified School District
Sacramento City Unified School District
San Juan Unified School District
Sonoma County Office of Education
Stockton Unified School District
Twin Rivers Unified School District
Vallejo Unified School District
Woodland Joint Unified School District
Yolo County Office of Education

Foundations

Sierra Health Foundation
Stuart Foundation
The California Endowment
The Wellness Foundation
UMOJA Community Foundation

Businesses and Non-Profits

AT&T
California Postsecondary Education Commission
Pepsi
Youth Speaks, Inc.

 

SAYS Staff and Structure

Dr. Vajra Watson  UC Davis Director of Research & Policy for Equity and Founder of Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS)   Read her bio

Dr. Vajra Watson
UC Davis Director of Research & Policy for Equity and Founder of Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS)

Read her bio

Patrice Hill  SAYS Program Director   Read her bio

Patrice Hill
SAYS Program Director

Read her bio

Denisha Bland  SAYS Coordinator   Read her bio

Denisha Bland
SAYS Coordinator

Read her bio

Laura Andrews-Cook   Lead Poet-Mentor Educator and Keeper of The Heart   Read her bio

Laura Andrews-Cook
Lead Poet-Mentor Educator and Keeper of The Heart

Read her bio

Andreas "Dre-T" Tillman   Poet-Mentor Educator and Artistic Specialist

Andreas "Dre-T" Tillman
Poet-Mentor Educator and Artistic Specialist

Jennifer Vargas   Poet-Mentor Educator and UC Davis Student   Read her bio

Jennifer Vargas
Poet-Mentor Educator and UC Davis Student

Read her bio

Jeanelle K. Hope  SAYS Research Fellow   Read her bio

Jeanelle K. Hope
SAYS Research Fellow

Read her bio

Asani Shakur  SAYS Warrior Scholar   Read his bio

Asani Shakur
SAYS Warrior Scholar

Read his bio

Bro. Keon Johnson  Poet-Mentor Educator   Read his bio

Bro. Keon Johnson
Poet-Mentor Educator

Read his bio

Candisse Griffen  Poet-Mentor Educator   Read her bio

Candisse Griffen
Poet-Mentor Educator

Read her bio

Tatiyanna Anderson  Poet-Mentor Educator and SAYS Alumni Ambassador   Read her bio

Tatiyanna Anderson
Poet-Mentor Educator and SAYS Alumni Ambassador

Read her bio

Lynese Andrews  Work Study Student   Read her bio

Lynese Andrews
Work Study Student

Read her bio

Malissia Bordeaux  Work Study Student   Read her bio

Malissia Bordeaux
Work Study Student

Read her bio

Ana Cecelia Araujo  Work Study Student   Read her bio

Ana Cecelia Araujo
Work Study Student

Read her bio

Amihan  Work Study Student   Read her bio

Amihan
Work Study Student

Read her bio

George Villa  Work Study Student   Read his bio

George Villa
Work Study Student

Read his bio

 
 

Poet-Mentor Educator training program: bringing the community into classrooms

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SAYS National Advisory Board and Key Supporters

Dr. Jabari Mahiri
Professor of Education & the William & Mary Jane Brinton Family Chair in Urban Teaching,
UC Berkeley

Jeanette Providence
Grant Union High School Teacher

Linda Christensen
Director, Oregon Writing Project,
Lewis & Clark College
Editor: Rethinking Schools

Hodari Davis
Ph.D. Student at UC Davis
Founder, Edutainment for Equity
Former National Director of Youth Speaks, Inc.

Dr. Halifu Osumare
Professor Emerita, African American and African Studies, UC Davis

Dr. Pedro Noguera
Distinguished Professor of Education,
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA

Willie Ney
Executive Director and Founder
Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives and First Wave Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings
Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison
President, National Academy of Education

Dr. Maisha Winn
Chancellor's Leadership Professor, School of Education
Faculty Director and Co-Founder, Transformative Justice in Education (TJE) Center, UC Davis

Kindra Montgomery-Block
Senior Program Officer, Sierra Health Foundation

Dr. Ijeoma Ononuju
Former Poet-Mentor Educator with SAYS
Graduate of UC Davis School of Education Doctoral Program

Cassandra Jennings
President and CEO, Greater Sacramento Urban League

Marlene Bell
Retired, California Teachers Association
UC Davis Alumni

Dr. Chris Thaiss
Professor Emeritus, Writing Studies, UC Davis