The New Mexico Black History Organizing Committee is working alongside the SouthWest Organizing Committee in the Youth Empowerment Summer Institute to provide young African Americans a chance to work with members of the community and gain real world work experience.


Here are their stories and what they seek in the internship.


Esperanza Gallardo: I was born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico. My ethnic background is Puerto Rican and Mexican. My family’s roots are deeply embedded here. I love to read, write, sing, and play instruments such as the piano, and the violin; However thus far I’ve found that community engagement is my favorite thing to invest my time in. So many amazing opportunities have come my way such as law camps, leadership groups and so much more. The YES! Internship with the NM Black Organizing Committee has graciously selected me to experience and immerse myself in many fulfilling community outreach projects. I’m very eager to learn and build new relationships with my fellow interns. Throughout my sixteen years of life, I have been and continue to be tremendously blessed.



Fernando Barrios: My name is Fernando Barrios; I’m entering my junior year at the Public Academy for Performing Arts. I am a junior hip-hop dance instructor at Triple Threat Performing Arts studio and I’ve been involved with the Rainbow Studio Theater for 3 years. This gives me the opportunity to learn and grow in the dance world as well as learn more about my culture and African roots. When I’m not dancing, I enjoy being engaged in various community projects, workshops, and activism. I’ve been involved with the New Mexico Youth Alliance, Southwest Organizing Project and our local Black Lives Matter Movement just to name a few. After high school, I plan to major in dance and eventually open my own dance studio for kids in low-income areas.



Imeh McIver: Hey, it’s Imeh here, people around town also know me as the girl with the blue hair. I graduated from the New Mexico school for the Arts in 2015 as a dance major and creative writing minor. Those are both my passion but how I apply them is how I will help change the world. In the fall I will be attending the University of New Mexico as a dance and political science double major. It’s a funky combination of interests but I like to think of it this way, dance is how I speak to people and political science is how I better understand what I need to say. It has always been important to me to recognize my indigenous African heritage as it anchors me to many socio-political issues on a global scale. That is why I want to lend my voice as a youth leader and in the future, a global leader and it all starts with the opportunities I get to do so through being an intern with the New Mexico Black History Organizing Committee. See you on the other side of global change!


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Graham Thompson: I am an 18-year-old student who has studied in the use of Adobe Programs such as, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premier. I first learned these programs in High School although initially wanting to learn 3D Animation after my first use of Illustrator I wanted to learn more about Graphic Design. After learning these skills I have chosen to use them to help organizations show how they are changing things for the better.




Kufre McIver: Hi, my name is Kufre McIver and I am 16 years old. I will be entering my junior year in the fall at NexGen Academy where I have been attending since my first year of high school. I like cooking, listening to music, making music, scary movies, camping, hiking, and just generally being in nature. After high school, I plan on traveling the world and achieving a personal goal of visiting every country on Earth before I die. Eventually, I plan on breaking into the music industry producing and recording music under my future record label “Ruckus Records” with my friend Anass. But to start I want to continue through school to become a doctor and create a biotech firm making organs for sick people.



Makenna Thompson: My name is Makenna Thompson and I am fourteen years old. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and will be starting my first year of high school in the fall. My way of doing things is best described as being fast and efficient. My hopes and dreams are to make a change in the community and the world. By joining the New Mexico Black History Organizing Committee, I not only hope to further my education for future careers but also help others. I would like to extend my knowledge as well as the knowledge of youth in my community. Many people need help and I hope that one day I will be able to help them in not only a personal way but also in the career settings. I enjoy reading and writing. I also play sports year round. I like to laugh, joke and have fun because it’s a boring day when you don’t laugh. I would like to attend college and be able to start my own business. I have what some may call a boring life now, but in the future, I know I will be able to change that and it starts with this internship.


P1170313Zavier Thompson: My name is Zavier Thompson and 15 years ago, I was blessed with the gift of life. Shout out to my parents! One thing you should know about me is that I’ve always had the determination and hunger to make my dreams a reality. I was born into a very talented family and I carry the tradition of being a musician and performer. I play the drums and piano, but I also dance, act, and write poetry. Some may say I “do it all”. Although, I am a natural performer, it was Ms. Cathryn McGill and the Rainbow Studio Theater Company who sparked the match! Since my very first production of “The Wiz” alongside my fellow company members, my career has just snowballed from one accomplishment to another. My life has changed almost instantly, and it has bettered me as a person, and musician. I am a sophomore at Highland Highschool, and I want this internship to expand my learning and life skills. I really believe it will.