Youth Leaders Share Message of Activism

Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017

On Tuesday morning, young leaders Lauren TwoBraids Howland and Andreanne R. Catt visited Gaynor to speak with our Middle School students. Howland and Catt are both part of The International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) and Seeding Sovereignty, two youth-focused groups who share similar principles in civic engagement, solidarity and justice. In 2016, both Howland and Catt helped lead the movement for clean water and environmental protection at the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota.

A member of the Gaynor community said, “It’s so moving to me to see these young women who have had such a difficult life and a very difficult past to be able to share their wisdom and experience with our kids. It’s hard to express the intensity and brutality of Standing Rock, as inspiring as it was it was equally difficult and traumatic. To see so much positivity come out of it is so humbling and moving to me.”

 After sharing personal experiences about their activism, they also shared a message of encouragement, emphasizing that it is not only possible to be an activist at any age for a cause you believe in, but important, as you can effect positive change by doing so. Middle School Director John Beich said, “Their visit ties into our Middle School service learning curriculum, one of the most important parts of which is helping students find their voices.”

These young activists showed our students how they too can make their voices heard, even when it means facing challenges – and that by working together, young people can accomplish incredible things.