On November 5, FEEST held our annual fall fundraiser under the theme “Unity Creates Opportunity.” Our emcees Jaimée Marsh (FEEST Executive Director) and Karishama Vahora (FEEST alum and board member), along with Michael B Maine as our Zoom host and production specialist, guided us through a wonderful night full of community-building, vision-sharing, and appreciation.
After getting settled, we got right into the fun with FEEST trivia! Prizes included Macrina Bakery gift cards, Frankie & Jo’s gift cards, and an evo gift card. Think you could have won something? Take a whack at it yourself:
- On what business is the FEEST Mural Located?
- What is FEEST rooted in?
- Where was the first FEEST dinner located?
Not so easy was it? Be sure to join us at future events for a chance to test your knowledge and win some prizes!
Once we had picked our winners, our Organizing Director Arista Burwell-Chen gave an update on FEEST’s amazing growth in the past year, including our work on a new strategic plan for the next several years! Youth leaders Amelie and Tamia then took the virtual stage and shared their experiences with FEEST.
My favorite part of being a FEEST youth leader is the sense of community I feel in the FEEST space. I feel comfortable and safe to learn, share my voice, and grow. Organizing as a FEEST youth leader has empowered me to fight for social justice in my community so that we can have the opportunity to thrive now and in the future.
I’m an organizer and I’m a very strong thinker and leader. I feel proud to tell people I’m a part of FEEST and letting people know that they can come to me with problems and I can share with my organizing group to fix it.
After hearing from these inspiring speakers, we got to engage in some visioning of our own in breakout rooms! Our guiding questions were:
- What has been an inspiring political change that you never thought you’d witness? How did that change happen?
- What is a political change that you want to see happen in your lifetime? What would it take for that to happen?
- What is your vision of a vibrant school environment? What does it look like, feel like, smell like, taste like?
When we returned to the main room, our amazing board member Ashley led us in our paddle raise where our community donated more than $11,000! Funds raised will support our youth leaders in growing their power, confidence, and leadership as they develop the skills needed to become life-long organizers for systems change.
Energized by our community’s generosity, youth leaders Kalie and Eyanna closed us out by sharing their brilliance in the form of poetry and music. Kalie shared her powerful poem “News,” which explores the challenges of rejecting oppressive narratives within her family as a Vietnamese American. Then, Eyanna brought us home with a beautiful acoustic guitar cover of Paper Hearts by Tori Kelly.
Thank you to everyone who joined us and to the youth, staff, and board members who helped us make it such an incredible night. A special thanks goes out to our sponsors: Stantec, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, foundry10, MiiR, UFCW 21, Magic Cabinet, and PCC Community Markets!
“Unity Creates Opportunity: Building Youth Power for More Just Schools” was a smash hit, and we had an amazing time celebrating both how far we’ve come and the promise the future holds. By continuing to come together and supporting young leaders, we can make sure that promise is kept.
Couldn’t make it but still want to support FEEST?