YOUTH POWER 2017

The youth organizers of Seeding Sovereignty were offered the opportunity to attend a national youth organizers convening in Albuquerque, NM. The Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing hosted the Youth POWER 2017 convening targeting Southwest youth organizations and inviting other organizations from across the country. “From Rooted Resilience to Rising Power” was the theme of the event which expressed the importance of organizations that are youth-based or focus on youth organizing. Over 125+ youth organizations sent 2-4 youth representatives to the convening which totaled at over 400 youth organizers coming together to collaborate and skill share.

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Youth organizer Lauren Howland was invited to speak at the FCYO Funder’s Briefing on the “Native Voice: Indigenous Youth Power in Action” panel which highlighted the significance of indigenous youth organizing and how it differs from the organizing techniques and values of others. The panel was moderated by Ms. Sarah Eagle Heart of Native Americans in Philanthropy. Other speakers on the panel included Autumn Dawn Gomez of Tewa Women United, Keioshiah Peter of Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women and Makai Lewis who is a Dine Organizer.

Because of speaking at the Funder’s Briefing, Seeding Sovereignty was offered to invite 3 more youth organizers to attend the Youth POWER 2017 convening. Partnering with the International Indigenous Youth Council, members of the IIYC’s southwest chapter attended which included powerful youth organizers such as Annaleisa Benally, Dylan Delano and Alexander Howland.

Mornings started with breakfast buffets at which the youth were serenaded by mariachis while they ate bringing a piece of New Mexican culture to the table. Day-time convening activities consisted of skill sharing between organizations and community learning tours of the local area. Community learning tour stops included the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Sanchez Farm, La Plazita Institute, Mountainview Community Center, Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge, Lost Jardines Institute, Wilson Middle School, Central & Unser/Patrick Baca Library, SouthWest Organizing Project, and the Peace & Justice Center. Evenings were filled with laughter and community building with events like talent shows, art fights, food truck rodeo and a night at the Explora science museum.

Seeding Sovereignty and the International Indigenous Youth Council would like to thank the FCYO for the opportunity to network and build a broader foundation for indigenous youth organizing and national youth organizing.

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We the youth are aware, we are educated and we are organizing.

-Lauren Howland