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Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Honoring Ancestors and Fulfilling Dreams

How are you your ancestor’s wildest dream? This was a question that program leader Selina posed recently to a group high school juniors in our College Access Now (CAN) program. This October, in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and also of Hispanic Heritage Month, the girls were asked to reflect on their ancestors and their own place in their family stories.

Girls around the room agreed that getting access to a good education was a huge part of their ancestors’ dreams, as well as equal rights. One girl stated that she was not laboring in the fields, but was pursuing dreams of college and career instead. Another girl said that in receiving a quality education, she was a testament to the progress of biracial families. And a third girl mentioned that not only would she be the first in her family to go to college, but the first to graduate high school as well.

But for many girls in the class, the question went deeper than just their family lineage. They not only saw themselves in relationship to their families and ancestors, but also to their communities at large. Jennifer, an 11th grader, talked about how she could affect change for future generations by participating in movements like Black Lives Matter and gun violence advocacy. Many of the girls agreed that in celebrating their heritage, they were also celebrating their futures. As Kayla so eloquently put it, “I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams!”