From November 8 to November 13, eight representatives from the Opportunity Youth Action Hawaiʻi (OYAH) programs participated in the cross-site convening held at the Hopi Tribe, New Mexico, and the Pueblo of Jemez.
They heard from fellow Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities who are organizing with opportunity youth to improve their livelihoods and well-being. A vital call for self-determination was made in addressing issues such as education, employment opportunities, and health.
When the team visited the Hopi Foundation, the female leaders of the movement described the impact of their project activities to their community and beyond. Leaders from the Hopi tribe described the process to assess reliable funding streams, employ tribal members, and create services that will directly benefit youth and their families. They also interacted with youth who are reclaiming their own futures through storytelling, music, and nature conservancy work. From this experience, the OYAH group expanded their understanding about what it means to foster genuine relationships and sustain activism among Indigenous peoples and their allies.
“We are grateful to the aunties, uncles, and everyone who hosted us in their homes. We enjoyed the food they prepared. We could tell they prepared a lot for us to visit their place. To show our gratitude, we listened and exchanged stories,” said a Kinai ʻEha Youth.