Twenty three youth from community development credit unions from across the nation gathered at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ 35th Annual Conference on Serving the Underserved, held June 11-13 in Phoenix, AZ.

These young people came to Phoenix from Dallas, TX; Quitman County, MS; Shreveport, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; Rochester, NY; and San Francisco, CA to meet their peers from around the country and to advance their skills in financial education, community economic development, and in the management and operation of youth credit union programs.

Elandria Williams, a member of Highlander’s Education Team, facilitated a workshop at the conference focused on working with youth to understand the power dynamics in their local economies. As part of this workshop, youth discussed their experiences with issues of race and class in the economy, and how they could work to build a new solidarity economy based on the ideals of equality and community.

At the end of the conference Elandria also gave a 5 minute pep talk about why it is so important for this work to be based in social change and systemic transformation, and the power of connecting the credit unions to local organizations doing organizing work in our communities.