So . . . What is a Hero?
For centuries society has idolized extraordinary individuals it designates as “heroes.” Many of these heroes are stereotyped and misrepresented as archetypal, even legendary, people who have conquered inconceivable obstacles. But we encounter heroes everyday, and particularly among youth. Young people have led civil rights movements all over the world, fought for sensible legislation, lobbied to make their communities safer, and lovingly taken on the role of caretaker for family members.
We are proud to be working with over ninety Bayview Hunters Point youth in celebration of the young heroes who are working in our own community and internationally. We hope to inspire our students and audiences -- young and old -- to discover and energize their hero within. In the Fall of 2019 we collaborated with local community leaders to nominate young people for the Young Heroes Award whom they consider to be exemplary citizens -- youth who are doing powerful things in Bayview Hunters Point and the San Francisco Bay Area. During the 2020-2021 school year, each of the selected Young Heroes will engage our students through video calls and interviews. With support from the Zaccho Teaching Artists and their classroom teachers, the students will use these engagements as inspiration to create artistic projects utilizing the Young Heroes theme.
Please scroll below to learn more about the recipients of the 2020-2021 Young Heroes Award!
Young Heroes Interviews, Bios, Videos and Press Articles
Isaiah Dewayne Manuel
Isaiah Dewayne Manuel, better known as Apollo, is a creative artist who resides in San Francisco, California. He dwells in the sounds of Hip Hop, Alternative, and R&B. As an only child raised by a single mother, he never had a real male role model. Instead, he relied upon the artists he loved to listen to as role models such as Lil Wayne, Chief Keef, T.I., Kendrick Lamar, and Drake, referring to them as his own “personal super heroes.” Isaiah also has influences from Bryson Tiller, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and legendary Trap artists such as Future.
Apollo displays versatility in what he refers to as his “art,” inspired mostly by inner thoughts, high energy, and love; his music reflects what he’s going through. From never having a personal identity he felt comfortable with, Apollo came to realize that he has a true purpose in music, and that being himself is the only way to stay sane. Apollo creates his art for the youth, the lost, the found, the good, and the bad. He creates music for love of the craft and wants the reward of riches and fame as well as the ultimate reward of healing and saving people's lives with his story and his emotions through the music he creates. Apollo wants to save the world.
Isha Clarke, a co-founder and activist with Youth Vs Apocalypse, is a high school student born, raised, and educated in Oakland, CA. Isha recognizes that climate change is the consequence of fundamental systems of oppression like white supremacy, racism, and colonialism. Because of this, people of color, indigenous communities, and working-class people are disproportionately burdened by impacts of climate catastrophe. Knowing this, Isha’s work is focused on building a movement that follows the leadership of frontline communities, creates solidarity between other fights for justice, and works to dismantle the systems of oppression that fuel climate change. As a result of this work, Isha was awarded the 2019 Brower Youth Award and has become a nationally recognized speaker, presenter, and writer.
Jamisha Jackson was born and raised in San Francisco's Bayview Hunters Point District. She became part of the 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic when she was 11 years old and, now at age 17, serves as an intern. Jamisha recently graduated from Galileo High School and will attend California State University in Sacramento, where she plans to major in Criminal Justice. She also plans to work with youth in the juvenile justice system while they deal with their cases.
Najimah Baxter is 12 years old and attends Francisco Middle School. A Bayview resident and dancer with Feline Finesse Dance Company, Najimah is currently part of the FFDC Anti-Bullying Pledge, in which she pledges to not only take a stand against bullying for herself, because she too has been bullied, but also pledges to do work in the community on that stance.
Najimah also gives back to the community through volunteering on Saturdays at the EcoCenter where she and Feline Finesse Dance Company are currently in the process of restoring an adopted garden area; and at City Eats in which she helps prepares and distributes over 1000 meals to homeless individuals in the Tenderloin district.
Tyson J. L. Richardson is a 16 years old multimedia artist and San Francisco native. Currently a high school junior studying Media Arts at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Tyson discovered his love for graphic design in middle school when he began attending programs at BAYCAT, a San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to ending racism and sexism through storytelling. Tyson has since worked as a media mentor and graphic arts teaching assistant, refining his skills in both graphic arts and filmmaking.
In his spare time, Tyson enjoys playing video games, collecting WWE Action Figures, photography, and can be found in his church’s audio/video booth providing videography services during regular church services and special events.
Mizan Rupan-Tompkins is a 13 years old Bay Area resident. At the age of 8, Mizan was tinkering with microprocessors and coding in several programming languages. By age 10 he had received accolades from Barnes & Noble bookstore as one of its “Mini Makers” of the year. Months later he found himself presenting his “Age Guessing Bot” at Maker Faire Bay Area to thousands of people. In the wake of COVID-19, Mizan created and launched a contactless product designed to help people avoid germ-filled surfaces while in public. He was inspired to create this product and company - Safe Touch Pro - after witnessing his parents struggle to open public doors with their sleeves. Safe Touch Pro is the first utility tool of its kind to use both antimicrobial silver ions and to be made of plant-based material.