UNITY’s Co-Presidents Sophie Tiger, Comanche/Standing Rock Sioux, and Hamilton Seymour, Nooksack/Stz’ umimus First Nation, recently joined about 400 youth leaders from around the country for the second annual Youth POWER: From Rooted Resilience to Rising Power convening in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The event was hosted by the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) and FCYO’s Youth Community Organizing Resource Exchange (Youth CORE). Youth organizers from more than 100 other groups from across the U.S. participated in three days of exciting activities including organizing trainings, relationship building, strategy development, learning tours, and fun.
“Youth Power Rising was an amazing conference! I had the opportunity to meet youth from all backgrounds who are doing phenomenal things to change the conditions within their community and for society. I gained knowledge of strategies to create change within Indian Country and I cannot wait to share these ideas and strategies with the Executive Committee and the youth! I would love to thank UNITY for once again providing endless opportunities that allow growth in leadership development,” said Tiger.
“This conference was a success. You really have to take a moment and appreciate F.C.Y.O. for hosting something that can be tough to host but can easily inspire someone to be a leader. I acknowledge their outstanding effort and success for this conference because I know how hard it can be to help facilitate and organize a conference with 400 plus people. I commend them from a personal perspective as I have been attending UNITY conferences since 2013, but I have been able to work behind the scenes since 2014. There’s a lot of little things that go into making a big conference successful. As an attendee, I got to learn and grow as I sat down in some pretty intense workshops. This conference was just amazing from the people I met, and from what I was able to learn. Of course, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for U.N.I.T.Y. So I have to say ‘thank you’ to this organization once again, for helping strengthen my leadership,” said Seymour.
Youth Power Rising encouraged students to learn about historical and current impacts of colonization and explore resiliency practices, tools and cultural practices that have stood the test of time. In addition, youth discussion focused on strengthening the self-determination of communities to have the political, economic and cultural power to build just, healthy and thriving communities.
UNITY thanks FCYO for inviting UNITY youth leaders to participate.