Youth Organized and United to Help: A Conversation with Y.O.U.TH Founder, Imani Muhammad


by Celeste Yager-Kandle





In this episode of the Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Imani Muhammad, a longtime youth advocate and community organizer in Portland, Oregon. She is the executive director of Y.O.U.TH, which stands for Youth Organized and United to Help, a nonprofit organization that she founded in 2010 after the death of Davonte Lightfoot in North Portland in 2007.

Y.O.U.TH exists to dismantle the school to prison pipeline, by challenging existing systems and structures. That includes programs like Books not Bars, that links literacy education with advocacy, mentoring, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training.  

Imani has worked with Children’s Institute for some time now, and she conducts training for educators, including those who are involved with our Early Learning Academy. 

“When you look at the root word of education…it’s not that someone’s coming in to teach you something. It’s more that whoever is around you as the educator is bringing something out of you. You are providing an environment that all children can thrive and learn and experiment in a safe way so that they can figure out their own gifts and talents within themselves. That’s the beauty of education.” – Imani Muhammad 


More about The Early Link Podcast

The Early Link Podcast highlights national, regional, and local voices working in early childhood education and the nonprofit sector. The podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Rafael Otto, Children’s Institute’s director of communications.

Listen to more episodes of the Early Link Podcast here or stream on Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, TuneIn, and Apple Podcasts. 


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