YOOTS = Youth at ROOTS!

Rooters at ROOTS Week 2018. Photo by Melisa Cardona.



.YOOTS = Youth at ROOTS!

Throughout our history, Alternate ROOTS has always benefited from the presence of young people at our events and in our community. Colloquially these young people have been called YOOTS or YOOTers.

Today, Team YOOTS is made up of contracted organizers and operates under the guidance of ROOTS’ Cultural Organizing team. Team YOOTS aims to:

  • Cultivate artmaking and relationship-building opportunities for young and emerging artists within Alternate ROOTS
  • Implement programming to uplift creative and organizing work that is rooted in the youth experience or facilitated by young people throughout the region
  • Ensure that young artists and culture workers within ROOTS and the communities we serve are empowered to show up as their full selves, and are equipped with the resources they need to flourish both within their practice and beyond


In 2018, YOOTers offered the following self-definition:

———-“In school, in the courts, under the gaze of the state and its society, young Black, Latinx and ———–Indigenous people are not allowed to be young, to be youth, to be children, to play. We are ———–YOOTS. We are organizing so that ROOTS may better serve emerging artists between 13 and 30, ———–pushing the bounds of Youth to include 25 and under. We are Black, Indigenous and Latinx ———–artists working across mediums. We are Queer and Trans, unapologetically so.”

In 2020, Alternate ROOTS incorporated YOOTS initiatives into our 2020-23 strategic plan, designating resources towards realizing the 2018 YOOTS Demands: a collectively developed strategy for how ROOTS can support its young members. In 2022, Team YOOTS honors the lineage of YOOTers who laid the groundwork for how we organize by looking to the 2018 Demands as a rooting guide.


As youth organizers, we understand that societal definitions of ‘youth’ are not universal. Who gets to be ‘young’ is largely shaped by systems of oppression, as is the American cultural understanding of youth autonomy and freedom. With this knowledge at the core of our work, Team YOOTS’ definition of ‘youth’ includes anyone under 30 years old.

For more information on youth autonomy and adult supremacy, we recommend ‘Trust Kids’ as a starting place.


Summer Sparks

YOOTS Summer Sparks are short creative projects or learning opportunities for our members or potential members under 30 to experiment and play. This program supports creative projects or ‘sparks’ with $1,000 honorariums and documentation support to share back with the larger ROOTS community. Applications for 2023 will open in March.

Meet the 2022 Summer Sparks recipients HERE.


Garrett Blaize (he/they)

Garrett is a community organizer focused on the economies, ecologies, cultures, and wellbeing of Appalachian people and communities. Their organizing and creative work are inspired by solarpunk aesthetics, Appalachian movement lineages, and their faith practice. They spend their free time dreaming of and sewing seeds for possible futures.



Justice von Maur (she/they)

Justice is a black feminist theatremaker, organizer, and theorist from Nassau, Bahamas. They studied History, Theatre, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Wake Forest University and have completed graduate coursework in Drama and Theatre for Youth & Communities at UT Austin. Currently rooted in Georgia, Justice does community outreach programming with the Savannah Children’s Theatre and cultural organizing for artists under 30 with Alternate ROOTS. Justice’s theory, Emergentheatre (ET), is a black feminist framework for systems change that has been uplifted by the Southeastern Theatre Conference, Alternate ROOTS, the Allied Media Conference, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and recently, the Theatre Crude Fringe Festival.

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.