Four young leaders from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians were honored with “30 Under 30” awards presented by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes. To comply with social distancing requirements, the fourth annual event was a drive-thru ceremony at San Bernardino Valley College. The award recognizes the achievements of 30 citizens under the age of 30 who live or work in the 47th Assembly District.
Presley Calderon (seventh grade), Raven Casas (ninth grade), Destiny Duro (eleventh grade) and Annabella Hernandez (eighth grade) were awarded for their advocacy and education efforts about missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).
These four young women called attention to human trafficking affecting Native American women and girls. Native American women are 10 times more likely than any other ethnic group to be victims of crimes, including assaults and human trafficking.
“We applaud our San Manuel tribal youth leaders who are courageously confronting the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by calling for protection and justice,” said Ken Ramirez, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Acknowledged as the MMIWG Advocacy Group, the four young leaders testified before the California Assembly Select Committee on Native American Affairs last year regarding crimes against native women and the small number of suspects that are prosecuted for committing these crimes. Limited sharing of information between state and tribal law enforcement is often cited as reasons for lack of prosecutions.
The MMIWG Advocacy Group also called attention to the issue with the Red Dress Dance at the San Manuel Pow Wow in 2019 and spoke with media outlets about their ongoing efforts.
Their testimony before the Assembly Select Committee helped to build momentum for the introduction of AB 3099 by Assembly Member James Ramos (AD 40) to provide for greater coordination among tribal and state agencies to protect native women from crimes. AB 3099 was signed into law on Friday, Sept. 25.