Native Youth Leadership Alliance

(Michelle Sherman) Sharing the Power of My Story: Funders for LGBTQ Issues Grantmakers Retreat

I was honored to have the opportunity to speak at The 2013 Funders for LGBTQ Issues Grantmakers Retreat in Albuquerque NM it was organized by Santa Fe Community Foundation and The Envision fund. We did the opening night for the retreat, we spoke about the issues happening New Mexico among LGBTQ and we were the local voices doing social justice work in New Mexico. We had to speak about New Mexico and our personal stories of being Two-Spirit/LGBTQ to funders who never been to New Mexico and they came from many states like New York, California, Florida, and Washington.

Adrien Lawyer and I were the NM local voices at this retreat. Adrien spoke about his personal life and how he became the Executive Director and co-founder of the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico he has provided Transgender cultural competency training all over the state and several locations around the United States.

It felt powerful to introduce myself in my Dine’ language, to have the feeling of my grandmothers strength and to share why she is my superhero and foundation, about my personal story of coming out, and why I am so passionate to create safe and supportive environments for our future generations.

I shared the story of my grandmother and my niece as my inspiration for my vision and leadership.  I also shared the importance of keeping the beauty of our Dine’ traditional culture alive on the Navajo Nation and why I want to be rooted in my rural community to create change for our Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Native youth.

I was happy to make connections with other organizations across NM State and talking about NYLA with organizations that wanted to know more about what other young Natives leaders are doing in their communities. Every day I am growing with NYLA and I am very grateful for Shash Ya’zhi’ who is my NYLA mentor and the Santa Fe Community Foundation team and Envision Fund for giving me a chance to share my story at the Retreat.

See Michelle’s NYLA Profile