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Local Teens to Present at TEDxYouth@ChavisWay

A photo of a microphone from a podcast

Preparations are ramping up for TEDxYouth@ChavisWay at the John Chavis Memorial Park Community Center in Raleigh. The March 11 event is a collaboration between #PassTheMicYouth Extension program, Alliance Health and Wake County 4-H. 

Under the theme of “Inspiring Change,” the aim of TEDxYouth@ChavisWay is to amplify and celebrate young people’s voices, stories, and ideas on the TEDx stage with the ultimate goal of nurturing meaningful youth-led community collaboration and engagement. 

For NC State College of Education Associate Professor Christy Byrd, who has worked for years with #PassTheMicYouth, the event felt like the natural next stage in the evolution of the initiative to amplify youth voices through multimedia platforms.

“I hope that people will be inspired by young people’s voices and understand more about the Triangle community through the perspective of our future leaders,” Byrd said. “My research is on how schools promote feelings of belonging and inclusion. When schools and out-of-school spaces can help youth understand their society and their place in it, real change is possible.”

According to Maru Gonzalez, a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences who is overseeing event planning, “We want TEDxYouth@ChavisWay to be an inspiring experience for youth and about youth. Given the Chavis Community Center’s legacy of inspiring change, both past and present, there’s no better place to host the event.”

Camila Armas, a senior at Wake STEM Early College High School and a speaker at the event, emphasized the importance and value of amplifying young people’s voices.

 “The youth of today have a very unique perspective. We grew up in the internet age, where everyone is online and depends on technology,” Armas said. “Growing up with all of these ideas at our fingertips makes it easy to find the ones worth spreading.”

Nearly 40 youth between ages 10 and 19 from across the Triangle applied to speak at TEDxYouth@ChavisWay and 11 received a coveted spot. In line with TEDx’s emphasis on showcasing multidisciplinary perspectives, youth will be covering topics ranging from civics education and mental health to the benefits of dance and what humans can learn from bees. 

Keertana Ramars, a middle school student, is looking forward to speaking about the role of schools in addressing climate change.

 “I am hoping my voice will reach a wider audience and inspire more people to join hands and multiply forces towards a greener and sustainable future for us all,” Ramars said.

Fourteen-year old published author Genesis Ijeomah was motivated to speak at TEDxYouth@ChavisWay, “…to raise awareness about the fact that all of our goals, accomplishments and inspirations originate within ourselves, particularly our minds, and that we can take steps to realistically achieve those goals.”

For Byrd, she believes that the event is important to help young people realize that adults and community members are interested in what they have to say.

“It’s about, individually, these kids realizing that they have something to say that other people are interested in and that I, as an adult who didn’t know them before this, care about them and am invested in their success,” she said. “We want to be able to recognize the greatness that already exists in our community, not just reward those who are already recognized for their achievements.” 

The event, which will be hosted by youth, will also include activities and performances. 
For additional information about TEDxYouth@ChavisWay and to view the complete line-up of speakers, performers, and hosts, visit To learn more about the John Chavis Memorial Park Community Center, check out their webpage.