Phoenix Union Students Attend the Annual United National Indian Tribal Youth/UNITY Conference in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Community Relations on 8/24/2015

Nineteen Phoenix Union students attended the annual United National Indian Tribal Youth or UNITY Conference in Washington, D.C., July 10-14, and the day before, President Obama invited the 1800 Native American and Alaska Native students to the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering. Eight Phoenix Union schools were represented: six students from Cesar Chavez, four from Betty Fairfax, three from Camelback, two from North and one each from Central, Bostrom, Alhambra and Carl Hayden. Native American Education Program specialist Judy Basham and Alhambra teacher Lionel Tso accompanied the student delegation. The Gathering allowed Native youth to dialogue with federal officials about their perspectives on issues that affect them, and recommendations for action to improve the lives of Native youth across the county. It is part of the White House Initiative called Generation Indigenous, or Gen-I that strives to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential. Key programs addressed are education, health and nutrition, juvenile justice, housing and youth engagement. The students came away from the event committed to a community service project, collecting and publishing stories from their elders to increase cultural self-identify.

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the Gathering, “Gen-I is a movement. It’s about tribal youth from across this continent embracing your heritage, telling your stories and teaching people about your central role in our history and our future…it is about tribal youth coming together and raising your voices for change, not just in your Nations, but in the entire United States of America.”