Meet our Youth Story judges!
Thomas Chengxi Zou
Thomas Chengxi Zou is a digital storyteller who advocates for underrepresented communities. He worked as a visual journalist and documentary producer in China. He is now a master’s student at the Communication Leadership program at the University of Washington, and works with local non-profits to address the homelessness issue.
Amy E. Ryken
Amy E. Ryken, Dean and Professor, School of Education at the University of Puget Sound studies teacher learning, how to create equitable classroom spaces, and partnerships that foster connections between schools and community resources. She has researched industrial sites transformed into public landscapes on Tacoma’s Ruston Way waterfront to understand visitor perceptions and to inform development plans.
Jamika Scott, Tacoma native, is a children’s advocate, activist, and writer. Her passion for writing has been burning since childhood, but she was drawn to film writing by a mentor in college and has been at it ever since. As a co-founder of the Tacoma Action Collective, she works toward building an equitable city as a community organizer, and often incorporates her love of film into her social justice work.
After college, Damico had ideas to move back to Seattle. After that turned out to be a very expensive idea, these days he expresses his gratitude by saying “Tacoma chose me”. This didn’t slow down his passion for art and environmental science. Director of shorts “SNOW ‘12”, “Story To Tell” and “NWYB”. Co-founder of Diggers, a platform for the music visuals they commissioned. His roots in artist development and in music show that he documents what he believes in. “MONKS GALLERY” will showcase his passions for music and local artists this summer via the Historic Hilltop neighborhood.
C. Rosalind Bell
Rosalind Bell is a Tacoma playwright, theater director and writer whose works have been staged and screened along the West Coast. A member of Macondo, The Conversation, The Black Collective and American Leadership Foundation, Bell grew up around water and loves it. Her hometown of Lake Charles, Louisiana sits on Lake Charles, near the Calcasieu River and the Gulf of Mexico. She also spent six years hosting a Comcast TV cooking show.
Erin Tail is a young Lakota and Northern Cheyenne writer living on the Puyallup tribal reservation. She is currently a student at the Evergreen State College, and is majoring in Native Studies and Psychology. Erin makes her own poetry chapbooks and mostly focuses on themes that both challenge and yet comfort readers, regarding Native lives, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and dreamscapes. A lot of her spare time is filled with writing, drawing, going to traditional ceremonies, and reading books. She hopes in the future to have a collective of Native writers, and wants to deeply encourage young writers to keep processing their world in a humble way.
Josh Rizeberg is a spoken-word poet, slam-champion, emcee, journalist, educator, and community advocate. He has been active in the music, literary, and activist scenes since the 1990’s. Rizeberg has toured North America as a performer and has written for the The Facts, the Weekly Volcano, and the Tacoma Weekly.
Tashawn DeVille is a Seattle-born poet, former poetry slam coach, and Tacoma Community College alumni living and working in Tacoma with non-profit organizations like Peace Community Center and Write 253. She currently attends the Evergreen State College at the Tacoma Campus and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in social justice and sociology. She’s been writing poetry since high school and is influenced by Rod Wave, Langston Hughes, J-Cole, James Baldwin, and Tupac Shakur. She believes that poetry is how she found her voice and wants to inspire others to do the same.