Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS)

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Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) is a social justice movement that empowers youth and transforms education by creating platforms for critical literacy, access to higher education, youth voice and civic engagement. 

Over the last decade SAYS has developed and facilitated a myriad of diverse student focused programming, providing culturally relevant and responsive direct service to youth. SAYS has operated primarily in the Greater Sacramento Region, focusing on the triangle of services between the university, the schools and the community. SAYS has also developed and heavily contributed to the youth social justice art spoken word poetry scene and programming for youth in the city of Sacramento.

Home of the National Youth Poet Laureate

Under the leadership of Patrice Hill and critical partnership of Urban Word NYC, SAYS brought the Youth Poet Laureate program to Sacramento in 2016.

The Youth Poet Laureate program elevates the voices of teen writers while providing a platform that promotes youth voice, civic engagement, political literacy, social justice, youth leadership and community building. Through this endeavor, we aim to push the literary arts and poetry aesthetic to include young people’s voices, ideas, beliefs and their values that are significantly under-represented and marginalized in the arts. Vital to the success of this program is the cultivation of key partnerships with city agencies and government, which can/has included the Mayor’s Office, city council offices, county and state agencies and school boards and districts.

The Youth Poet Laureate program strengthens SAYS as a social justice movement that transforms education.  That statement is illustrated beautifully in the poetry of SAYS alumni and 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate, Alexandra Huynh.

How SAYS Helped the Youth Poet Laureate Find Her Voice

Alexandra Huynh shares her story and how Sacramento Area Youth Speaks helped her get to where she is now, in this UC Davis news article: UC Davis Program Gave National Youth Poet Laureate Her Debut

The support gave me a sense I could have agency in my own community, it empowered me to enact change in every area of my life, whether it is in poetry or not.

National Poet Laureate News Coverage


More on SAYS

To find out more about Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, our programs for area youth and our impact on the community, please visit our website


Donate to SAYS

What we do would not be possible without generous gifts from our donors.  If you would like to support SAYS, please visit our donation page to make a tax deductable gift to our program.