April 30, 2015

A group called Up and Over recently made a repeat appearance for juveniles in detention at the Donald E. Long Juvenile Justice Complex. For a third time, they brought their stories and message to challenge assumptions. This is one of the many groups brought to youth in detention by the Juvenile Services Division (JSD) Cultural Diversity Committee. 


The performers in this group are local young artists that share their stories and their creative art ranging from rapping, hip hop, RB, Spoken Word, poetry, and dance. The group provides mentoring and travels around the Pacific Northwest performing in middle and high schools.


All the members of the group faced challenges that are much like the experiences of the youth in detention. Foster care, losing a parent, homelessness, selling drugs, and dropping out of high school were all experiences these performers shared with the youth. The group shared their stories to show the youth that their time in detention did not need to define their future. They were proof that they can reach the goals they set for themselves.


One performer even shared with the youth that he spent time in the detention center. Now a singer, musician, and a teacher he told the group “We all make mistakes- it will get better. You can get up and over. If I can do it you can do it - I am something now.”

Up and Over performer

The assembly ended with individual performances by members, showcasing the range of talents from singing to spoken word to rapping. All songs had a relevant message to the youth and closely connected to the lives of the performers.

From the loud applause, there was no doubt that their messages got to the youth.