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Imperial Courts Youth Writes History

Imperial Courts made history by inaugurating its first student authors at a book signing event held at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Six Imperial Courts’ youth residents (Marveon Mabon, Te’yanah Owens, Ariana Alvarez, Mitchell Friend, Brenijia Barnes and Samone Edwards) came together with the Publishing Hope & Branding A+ Behavior (PHABB 5) Program to publish Imperial Courts’ first student author book, Imperial Guards. The book consists of six short narratives written by each of the student authors that features characters who chase after their dreams despite facing obstacles and hardships in their lives. The authors hope Imperial Guards will inspire and encourage youth who may be facing similar obstacles in life.

Te’yannah Owens’s Toni is about dreams and making it out of the city. Owens states “I want to inspire the youth in my community that dreams are possible. Instead of stopping at high school, we are capable of going to college and achieving greater things.”  Owens is currently in the eleventh grade and aspires to become a radio/television host by studying mass communication and journalism at Howard University. 

PHABB5 is a book publishing program first launched in 2013 at Locke High School in Watts, CA to teach students how to write and publish a book. Recently, PHABB5 expanded its program to other parts of the city in hopes of providing inner city youths different options and solutions besides from the limited resources offered to them. PHABB5 worked with youths from Nickerson Gardens late last year and continued its program to Imperial Courts this year.

Rhea Miller, co-founder of PHABB5, expressed: “We are very proud of the student authors and the accomplishment of this book. We hope to further our program in other communities in the near future.”

Michelle Chambers, Senior Field Representative for Councilmember Mike Gipson, attended the event to congratulate and award the student authors with a certificate of accomplishment. She encouraged the students to continue to write, “Your voice is one of the strongest tool you will ever own. Use it to be bold, to be courageous, and to be a game changer.”

In addition, Michelle Chambers announced the recently introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2683 to the audience. This bill, introduced by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, 64th Assembly District, will establish the California Student Author Art and Literacy Project. This project will help address the state’s literacy challenges by presenting an opportunity for low income youth residing in public housing developments to become published authors. Students participating in this program will write, edit and promote a short narrative to develop their academic and entrepreneurial skills. The program will be sponsored by PHABB5.

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