Our Tuba City youth hanging by a thread<br>

Stars in the Desert began its quest for a community youth center complex 16 years ago. The event has raised the consciousness level of both famous guests and the people in the community of Tuba City and has stirred feelings of mixed emotions.

With success of Stars in the Desert just behind us, there has already been one casualty again this year. We feel the lack of an actual community center in Tuba City contributed to this death. Without that physical complex, the hopes and dreams of the youth and the visionaries who support them are waning.

Now is the time to wake up people! It is time for this community to rise up and support the vision and dream of its youth.

We are asking the community to save this dream by working with the local officials in Tuba City and Coconino County. We are asking that people write to their tribal, state and federal leaders to help save the dream of a city park, swimming pool and Community and Youth Center complex to support our future leaders. It is through our youth that our future is assured.

Vanessa Brown conceived this Youth Center Complex and was instrumental in building Stars in the Desert into what it has become today. Even though she is the inspiration behind this project, Vanessa has never meant to become the soul of this project.

Today, Stars in the Desert has become a matter of politics. People seem to want glory instead of success. Vanessa’s vision is not to take sides but to push in the right direction for our youth and future generations. Now, the success is hanging by a thread—as are our youth.

Frustration is dangerous to our youth. It causes imbalance of the body and the spirit, creating illness. It drives our youth to alcohol and drugs, which contribute to rising incidents of AIDS, violence, mental problems, and death.

Should it be politics as usual or will we continue to allow more graves to be filled by our youth?

A youth center is fertile ground to assure the success of our youths’ future. Without the touch of a parent, a baby cannot feel his mother’s heartbeat. The dreams of our youth are like that baby. Are those dreams to be thrown off a high cliff to die? Ask yourself that question.

To those artists, actors, musicians and mentors, along with those in the community who have helped support this effort, we offer our sincere and deepest thanks.

Also, to Vanessa Brown, we offer a big thank you. Those close to her can see the heavy load she has carried in her eyes. In seeing her seed of inspiration and what she has been trying to achieve on behalf of our youth and community, we feel her heavy load.

We ask that the community come together in support of Vanessa’s vision. We must adopt her dreams to reach out to our youth and help them to become strong citizens so that Tuba City and other surrounding communities can grow in a positive way. Our future as a city is in the hands of the community. Are its members willing to turn blind eyes to the problems at hand, allowing its youth and our city to blow away with the wind?

(Esther Honeyestewa, who resides in Hotevilla and is a CACY board member, has been active with the Stars in the Desert program for approximately five years. Lee Brones, a Palmdale, Calif. based film producer and director, and Jim Price, a architect and engineer from Los Angeles, have supported Stars in the Desert about four years.)

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