Ryan McDonald

Hermosa Beach About Town

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Image courtesy Amanda Hunter

GWPOP focuses on youth

Head down to the Hermosa Pier on Saturday, and you may be in for a rare sight: teenagers and 20-somethings turning off their cell phones.

They’ll be attending Good World Power of Peace, an ambitious and diverse slate of events featuring food, music, yoga, and lyceum-style discussions about issues important to youth. GWPOP is the brainchild of Amanda Hunter, a South Bay local and serial entrepreneur with a past in the punk rock scene. She said that she was inspired to host GWPOP, which began as an event coinciding with the opening of the Community Garden at South Park in 2016, and held its first independent event last year, as a way to promote peace and harness the power of young people, whom she said face challenges unlike those of previous generations.

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“The talks are really focused on Millennials and Generation Z. We don’t prohibit anyone who wants to come in and talk, and we want to hear from them, but we’re building this as a platform for these generations, so that they can weigh in on the world around them,” Hunter said.

Many of these challenges, Hunter said, are the result of technology and social media, which she described as a “double-edged sword.” It creates opportunities for exposure for creatively minded people, but impairs their ability to benefit from real-world experiences. As a result, those entering the “in-tent” talks, a nod to the more self-serious TED talks, will have to turn off their phones. Facilitators at this year’s will include professional surfer and South Bay native Alex Gray, a vice president of Chase Bank to talk about finance, and a high school student leading a discussion on mental health.

“I think it’s having a serious impact on relationships and how people are able to express themselves without all the distraction. It’s an overload. This is a little retreat from that, even if only for a short amount of time,” Hunter said.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and will last until 6 p.m. Along with the talks, there will also be musical performances by South Bay acts, including Kevin Sousa, Jeremy Buck, V. Torres, and the Hollow Legs. For those on the younger side, there will be rock painting and hula hooping. Local artists Josh Barnes will be painting a mural during the event.

And, in a development Hunter is especially excited about, there will be a table where those eligible can register to vote. The event’s theme of “peace,” Hunter said, is non-partisan. Pointing to statistics about the growing demographic prominence of Millenials and Gen Z, she said the goal is for young people to realize that they have more power than they might realize.

“GWPOP might be considered a drop in the bucket. But guess what? We need that drop,” Hunter said.

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