Island Voice to Host First Annual 'Know Your History Youth Unity Summit' In Celebration of 'Black' History Month February 23, 2008; 12 - 3:00 at The Historic St. George Theatre, 35 Hyatt Street, Staten Island

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Religious Leader Pastor Demetrius S. Carolina of First Central Baptist to lead the discussions. Kevin Powell - Writer, Activist, former senior writer for VIBE, hiphop historian, 2008 Democratic candidate for Congress in Brooklyn to serve as Keynote Speaker.

Island Voice, Inc., an emerging non-profit organization headquartered on Staten Island, New York, is pleased to announce the first annual "Know Your History Youth Unity Summit" will take place on February 23, 2008 - 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the historic St. George Theatre, 35 Hyatt Street, Staten Island, New York. The Summit is being held in celebration of "Black History Month". Entertainment to include local young rock performers 'A New Shade of Black, Dancers from the Century Dance Complex, Optometrist, slam poetry from URBANWordNYC, local reggae artist Milton Henry backed up by the Bandoulus. The event summit was conceived by local Businessman and Island Voice's Chairman, Bobby Digi. The Summit is free and open to the public.

With ongoing news of the Island's Youth disconnect, especially in the African-American, African and Caribbean communities. The goals of the Summit are to reinforce to our youths their important history, the relevance of the African-American experience and to educate them about their connection to each other. This initiative is also expected to communicate to the young people that we understand they are crying out for help and we are making available a platform so that the Island's civic, religious, business, community and governmental leaders can hear directly from them.

In announcing the launch of the Youth Summit, Island Voice's Chairman, Bobby Digi commented, "It is disconcerting to continue to read that it has become necessary for daily police presence at area high schools, especially those serving the African, African-American and Caribbean communities of Staten Island. As stewards of the Youths in our communities, education begins with us, the adults. It is important that we continue to communicate to our young people that they are historically connected and descendants of a resilient people with a rich history."

Island Voice has called upon Staten Island's religious leader, Pastor Demetrius Carolina of the First Central Baptist Church in Stapleton, to lead the panel discussions and to help encourage and appeal to youths at the summit to work to achieve spiritual growth and focus on self-actualization.    

Pastor Carolina offered this statement on the summit, "The Know Your History Youth Summit initiative is a profound opportunity for Staten Island youth to have their voices heard. Together with the Island's civic, religious, business, and governmental leaders a meaningful platform will be created to hear directly from area youth their thoughts, ideas, concerns and suggestions for making our communities better, safer and stronger."

Kevin Powell, celebrated writer, activist, former senior writer for VIBE, hiphop historian and 2008 Democratic candidate for Congress in Brooklyn, New York will serve as the keynote speaker at the Summit.

Kevin Powell is a gifted and highly sought after public speaker and has lectured on multiculturalism, building corporate responsibility, American and Black American history, the life of Dr. King, civil rights, American politics and civic engagement, sexism from a male perspective, leadership, social activism, the state of hiphop, redefining American manhood, and being Black and male in America, among other topics, at hundreds of colleges and universities, community centers, prisons, religious institutions, conferences and festivals, as well as in corporate settings. Furthermore, Kevin Powell routinely offers his insights on a variety of matters, to TV, radio, newspaper, magazine and internet outlets in America and abroad.

Island Voice is also pleased to have the participation Heather Abreu, Program Director of the Staten Island YMCA Counseling Service Branch's Vanderbilt Avenue Center. As a leader in working on youth advocacy and training in the community, Ms. Abreu will participate in the panel discussions along with several youths from her program at the YMCA.

College of Staten Island's President Tomas Morales has pledged to help bring attention to programs that are already in place at CSI that can serve to address some of the issues faced by the Island's youths.

"I am very pleased that these mavericks in advocacy have agreed to participate in this important youth unity event on Staten Island," commented Rose Kingston, Artistic Director at Century Dance Company, Staten Island. "Sometimes I feel our actions tell the Youths that after 5 years old they are no longer endearing and therefore have no relevance. We hope this event serves as a catalyst with Island Voice's centers of influence, our community and business leaders and elected officials, in support of initiatives to keep the young people of Staten Island gainfully engaged."

Island Voice will continue to reach out to businesses, community leaders and elected officials for their participation in the summit and for their guidance and assistance in making skills training and ongoing opportunities for economic empowerment available to the youths of Staten Island.

A heartfelt thank you to the St. George Theatre for their special consideration.

About Island Voice, Inc.
Island Voice, Inc. is an emerging non-profit organization based on Staten Island. The group's mission is to act as a resource in promoting community development by facilitating solutions to effect positive and lasting change in the lives of its constituents through Economic Empowerment opportunities, Youth Advocacy and Training and to cultivate a positive environment of cultural pride and unity amongst the African-American, African, and Caribbean Communities of Staten Island. Island Voice's initiatives are immediately focused on facilitating essential economic empowerment skills and the promotion and celebration of the cultural history of and African-Americans, Africans and Caribbean peoples of the Island -- to be materialized yearly through the Staten Island Black Cultural Arts and Heritage Day Festival and Parade --

To advance its mission Island Voice plans to engage civic, religious, political, community and business leaders to help develop and sustain a vibrant arts and culture platform on Staten Island; offer workshops, lectures and symposiums to facilitate increased knowledge in the fundamentals of personal finance; to encourage job training and education to benefit its constituents, especially the youths of the Island.

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Michele Howell
SI Black Parade
(718) 447-8202
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