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World On Fire – Speaking Our Truths: IYF series, Part 2

The series of five podcasts by young artists and writers continues as Cara Chen hosts "World On Fire."


Artwork by Genevieve Basco Arce, youth artist.

A special five-episode documentary of interviews and creative writing by and with 20 young artists and writers continues with the podcast’s Episode 2 “World On Fire” – a presentation by Stage & Studio.

Stage & Studio on ArtsWatch presents the debut of the Speaking Our Truths: The –Ism Youth Files (IYF) podcast. This is a culmination of a two-year book and podcast project detailing the effects of the pandemic on youth mental health, led by Executive Producer Dmae Lo Roberts. This series of half-hour episodes features interviews with 20 youth artists and writers who submitted work and were chosen to be a part of The -Ism Youth Files project.

The series is hosted by five of the youth writers and centers on mental health and wellness for BIPOC youth and youth with disabilities. Their work (which includes essays, poems, graphic novels, and artwork) is now available as an anthology book available in paperback or ebook form on Amazon.  We listen to them describe the trials they have overcome, including a global pandemic, and how various factors have impacted their mental health and wellness and how they have overcome to flourish now.

Speaking Our Truths: The –ISM Youth Files Podcast Series

Sept. 22: Join host Cara Chen as she recites her winning poem home • sick • ness that she wrote in social isolation, leading us to a deep dive into the mental health challenges that our youth writers faced as the pandemic continued. Many youth turned to activism to enact social change on the local level as the world seemed on fire both literally and symbolically.

●  an ode to this land of fiery hopes and shattered dreams.


Washougal Art & Music Festival

home • sick • ness●  longing for a place you aren’t sure exists. –by Cara Chen

A recent paper by the How Kids Learn Foundation laid out the benefits of civic engagement and activism for youth. It helps them make friends and promotes self-confidence. It also helps heal trauma, combat depression and provides a sanctuary. Youth activism can prepare us for leadership roles while serving others and communities. And it fuels passion and purpose…” excerpt from “World On Fire” episode.

For more information about the project, the published book or ebook or to download a free youth mental health toolkit, visit

The –Ism Youth files book and podcast project was produced by Dmae Lo Roberts with Amanda Anderson and Samson Syharath. Literary works editor was Sandra de Helen and the mental health consultant is Dr. Eleanor Gil-Kashiwabara of Luminosa Psychological Services. The episodes were mixed and mastered by Clark Salisbury.

All episodes feature music by Tomo Singh in Boston, Mass. Podcast is appropriate for ages 14 and up. A content warning begins each episode for listeners. Podcasts will debut each Friday on Stage & Studio on ArtsWatch, September 22, 29 and October 6 and 13. Listen to episode one here.

“Taking care of our mental health is important for everyone – and everyone deserves help and support. Whether you or someone you know is struggling in some way, or you just want someone to talk to, this toolkit can offer a little help, support, and connection. You are not alone. We are all in this together. The first step is starting the conversation.”

— Excerpt from The -Ism Youth Files Mental Health Toolkit (in collaboration with Oregon Children’s Theatre)


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Photo Joe Cantrell

Dmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody winning radio producer, writer and theatre artist. Her work is often autobiographical and cross-cultural and informed by her biracial identity. Her Peabody award-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII. She adapted this radio documentary into a film. She won a second Peabody-award for her eight-hour Crossing East documentary, the first Asian American history series on public radio. She received the Dr. Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice award from the Asian American Journalists Association and was selected as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. Her stage plays and essays have been published in numerous publications. She published her memoir The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed-Race Family in 2016. As a theatre artist, she has won two Drammys, one for her acting and one for her play Picasso In The Back Seat which also won the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been produced in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, NYC and Florida. Roberts is the executive producer of MediaRites, a nonprofit multicultural production organization and co-founder of Theatre Diaspora, an Asian American/Pacific Islander non-profit theatre that started as a project of MediaRites. She created the Crossing East Archive of more than 200 hours of broadcast-quality, pan-AAPI interviews and oral histories. For 23 years, Roberts volunteered to host and produce Stage & Studio live on KBOO radio. In 2009, she started the podcast on, which continues at ArtsWatch.


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