Our building's Grand Opening Celebration was a blast! There were so many familiar faces and just as many new ones that came to visit the start of a new chapter for us, MIGIZI. The celebration started at 4:00pm on September 12, 2019 and already there were many community members that came out. JG Everest and Rosetta Peters started off the evening with beautiful music and poetry while guests came in while the aroma of food from Gandhi Mahal made its way to the front of the building from the back.
There were some catching up with each other and reminiscing of good times. Others were making new friends and acquaintances. Many did both!
Our program youth participants from First Person Productions and Green Jobs Pathway had a wonderful time demonstrating all they've learned and being able to have the opportunity to teach the amazing things they've been doing. First Person Productions used their media knowledge and skills to interview testimonials about people's "MIGIZI Story." These interviews will be compiled into a series of short videos that will capture what MIGIZI is and stands for! For Green Jobs Pathway, the youth demonstrated their experience and expertise with sustainable energies such as wind and solar power and fielded many questions from curious guests at ease.
When the ceremony started LeMoine LaPointe gave an introduction to the importance of our Native youth's success and potential and how this building and organization will be that catalyst for them. Wakinyan and Thorne LaPointe then followed up with a prayer song which they performed with their hand drum and powerful voices.
As they finished up their prayer, Mayor of Minneapolis Jacob Frey spoke words of encouragement and gratitude. He started off with a little history of MIGIZI and then went into the achievements of what MIGIZI has contributed to the community. He then ended off with praise to Kelly Drummer, our CEO and President, in the progress and visible potential this organization has reached and will further reach. Our Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota Peggy Flanagan followed up and she too spoke of the progress of our communities and how MIGIZI has influenced that and herself personally. Her testimonial of MIGIZI reflected many of those who were in the room and it sounded throughout the hearts of those who heard.
MIGIZI's LeVi Boucher, John Gwinn, and Nicole DeCoteau gave thanks to those who made Native Youth Futures possible and then honored those youth who finished the program. Native Youth Futures is a program that teaches financial literacy to youth as well as provides a scholarship that multiplies a youth's savings by 8. Some youth received a paid semester from college off and even more!
Lastly, our CEO and President Kelly Drummer gave a word of thanks to all that came out and made this possible with MIGIZI's board alongside her. She notably gave thanks to Elaine Salinas and Laura Waterman Wittstock and announced that the Green Jobs Pathway workshop and First Person Production studio were respectively named after them for their legacy as leaders for MIGIZI. She ended off by saying that this building is merely just the beginning of success and that more changes were coming for the benefit of our Native youth and communities.
We ended the night with two gifted artists. As Kelly ended, she gave a heartwarming introduction to a dear friend of hers, Jamela Pettiford, and hugged her before Jamela took the spotlight. Jamela Pettiford sang with strong vocals a beautiful a capella piece about Native land. The emotion emitting from Jamela seemed to overflow the room and was felt with profoundness. As she finished, people were invited to stay longer and to mingle. Lisa Yankton performed a beautiful piece of poetry that was carried through her poised nature shortly after. It was a really elegant and blissful reading.
The night ended with more laughter, full tummies, and hugs.
This opening celebration was one that marked a beginning of change. Not just the building has changed for our organization, but the whole organization in itself! As compared to last year, 2018, we have revamped our brand identity with a new logo, colors, and design. We also now have Kelly Drummer, our new CEO and President of MIGIZI that has taken and carries the vision of Laura Waterman Wittstock and Elaine Salinas to heart. Our programs will be seeing newer changes as we are ever adapting to better suit our Native youth for their success!
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