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Hope Alvarado is 21 now and standing in front of the shelter for the first time since she left it five years ago.Just before coming back to the shelter she was the current version of Hope — poised, assured, eloquent — confidently striding across the University of New Mexico’s campus, decrying the racism of the administration and its decision to host Milo Yiannopoulos on campus, rhapsodizing over the next event the Native student group KIVA has planned for indigenous pride on campus.The activism, the passion, the march across campus: they are fueled with this fire, the memories of what happened in this building and before it — the violence of her childhood, the homelessness and poverty.Hope’s identity as young Navajo activist is tied up in the trauma of growing up Native in the US today, with all of the systemic challenges and inequities that brings.

Republican Congress members opposed the expansion, but eventually a bill with limited expansions was passed.But back then, the building was the only homeless shelter in the area that would take kids without a parent’s signature, so it was the only place she could go in order to stop sleeping out on park benches or inside the slide at the school playground.Then she could focus on her future, her schoolwork, her 4.2 GPA, her college applications.The lack of basic facilities, the joblessness, sex trafficking, absence of culture, fetal alcohol syndrome, drunk violence, joblessness and mere desperation are daunting.This is what Anna* and Hope from the new Native American movement are standing against, and at stake is the very survival of their people, no less.

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