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2018 Gathering: Reintegration – From Pine Ridge all the way back to LA

In the most fitting of ways, after the journey to Pine Ridge, YPW was brought back again this November for the 2018 Stewardship Council retreat to Los Angeles. YPW had been offered the use of a beautiful home in Malibu that had been used for a smaller retreat directly after the 2016 gathering. Much can be said of the time in California–updates on new SC members and what to expect in 2019 are forthcoming–but more than nearly anything, what is most present was the fire. The morning of the retreat, the Leadership Circle woke up the next day to a phone call from, wait for it, Becky Chief Eagle, letting them know the Woolsey fire had rapidly grown into an evacuation order for much of the Malibu area. The short version is that the house we were offered was thankfully not consumed by the fire but a new location had to be found and thankfully YPW is blessed with the individuals, resources, and relationships to be able to shift gears quickly to adapt to rapid change. Our hearts go out to all those who were not so lucky, and the many humans and non-humans who lost homes, possessions, and even their lives in the fires in California. (*thanks to Ashanti Branch for this photo from his flight to LA!)

After a full weekend, members of the SC headed back to Chuco’s Justice Center (of the 2016 Host Partners) for a reunion dinner and dialog and to come full circle with LA and its current reality. That very weekend Chuco’s participated in the Inglewood Open Studios to amplify activist art in a city that is rapidly being gentrified. Local artists and activists came together to tell the story of displacement, criminalization, and deportation. Those gathered were greeted with traditional song offered by Luis Rodriguez’s wife Trini and son Romero and then heard from the curator of the Chuco’s exhibits, Leslie Guardado, a community resident and artist, as well as from Yari Herrera, one of the amazing Youth Organizers that works there!

As Youth Passageways moves collectively into the future in partnership with organizations like the ones forged on this journey from the neighborhoods of Los Angeles to the bluffs of the Yellow Bear Canyon, the future as challenging as it may be, looks bright, united and ready for the kinds of change the young ones are calling for as we speak…

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