Monday, 01 May 2017

2017 Sen Guaiya Hao Guåhan Youth Conference focused on Chamorro identity

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Chamorro identity and its connection to Guam’s political status represent a small part of what is shaking the island’s youth, which they openly discussed in a two-day conference.

Guam - One of the co-chairs of the 2017 Sen Guaiya Hao Guåhan Youth Conference, Rosario Perez, is a senior at the University of Guam majoring in Social Work and Chamorro Studies, and is a strong supporter of Guam’s decolonization. She told PNC that the Social Work Program at UOG wanted to do a cause advocacy project, and Perez and the other organizers of the conference decided to focus on what it means to be Chamorro.

"This was a beautifully-inspired cause to get the youth more involved with what’s happening on the island, to get them thinking more critically about what it means to be Chamorro, what it means to be not Chamorro in Guam because every day, we’re surrounded by Chamorro," Perez told PNC.

Perez adds that a number of people felt that the culture was fading, and the Chamorro youth are facing two major challenges in particular that she hopes the sessions could help them overcome. "One of them was definitely language. The second one was having an identity of what it means to be Chamorro. I think they’re coming to it that they’re living and breathing Chamorro. The Chamorro culture is ever-changing and we’re growing with it. We have to practice, preserve, and protect," Perez said.

This was the first-ever Sen Guaiya Hao Guåhan Youth Conference, and Perez hopes there will be many more to come. It was held last Thursday and Friday at the Guam Museum and at the University of Guam.

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