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Representing Indigenous Motherhood at the White House

My name is Elmirah Marcus-Garcia- I’m from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, New Mexico. Becoming a young mother at the age of nineteen, I noticed a shift in how the world saw me. My children are my inspiration for making the world a better place to live- in anyway possible. I didn’t expect the hand that life had in store for me but I wouldn’t have changed it if I had a choice. 

I’m on the Steering Committee for IMPACT (Invincible Mamas Pushing for Action and Change Together.. Being a co-founder of the project, my role is to continue further development of our group and direct the work that is being accomplished. Our team is a tight-knit unit of women who became mothers at young ages. We’re pushing for the change we needed when we stepped into motherhood.  

I was in Washington D.C. to discuss the mental health crisis that young women are facing today in the United States. It’s hard to pinpoint where mental health issues stem from, however, there are many contributing factors in this time that factor into how dire the need is for a change. Being in D.C. was very enlightening- I found clarity and inspiration in an environment that was productive and supportive. Seeing that interwoven in the way an organization that essentially runs the country was very uplifting. 

I began with intersectionality because women don’t lead single issue lives. Mentioning the work that I do with IMPACT, I went on to explain how our group can contribute to the change of the mental health crisis. Being young mothers, we are faced with injustices and challenges that create inequalities. Going into further discussion, I began to voice that mental health is a part of our healthcare that is often overlooked. Depression and anxiety are often desensitized when it should be seen as an opportunity to provide care for those affected by it. Educating those who need information on it, and providing them with the proper resources are essential in the growth of our society. Though making it normal should be important, there should also be healthy boundaries between responsibilities and being inattentive during your everyday life. When boundaries are being pushed, there has to be resources directed to proper care. Qualified professionals need to be providing that care- if it is needed. Economic changes need to be made as well. Allowing these doors to open for young families, will be investing in future generations of change. 

I hope they heard the voices of IMPACT- as young families and as advocates for the young families that need their voice to be heard. IMPACT’s journey has only begun- this is only a stepping stone in our quest to create equity for young families and their children. The ripple will start soon.

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