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MESA, Ariz. — The United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) celebrates its 45th year today. Since its inception 45 years ago, UNITY has had over one-quarter of million Native youth participants.

UNITY provides Native youth opportunities to build on and develop leadership skills, and prepare and encourage them to take active roles in their communities.

Established on April 16, 1976, by founder J.R. Cook (Cherokee), UNITY's mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and to help build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement.

"We are proud to be the oldest and longest-running nonprofit organization focused solely on Native youth leadership development," Mary Kim Titla, UNITY's executive director and former UNITY youth participant and trustee said. "Today, we celebrate our entire UNITY family, all 250,000 plus youth we have served since day one," Titla added.

Evynn Richardson,18, from the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe is the designer of UNITY's 45th-anniversary logo. She will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Fall of 2021.

Part of today’s celebration of UNITY's 45th year, a special logo was developed by rising artist Evynn Richardson, who is a tribal citizen of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe from North Carolina. She is also the artist behind UNITY's Native Vote campaign and the 2020 National UNITY Virtual Conference logo design.

Two special video tributes will be released today on UNITY's website and social media channels (InstagramFacebook). A sit-down one-on-one interview with founder J.R. Cook will debut at 1:00 p.m. PST. The video was produced by UNITY alum, trainer, and resident DJ, emcee one (Marcus Anthony Guinn). A 45th-anniversary highlight video featuring youth participants over the decades will make its premiere at 6:00 p.m. PST.

UNITY has launched a 45th-anniversary fundraising campaign. The goal is to raise $45,000 in 45 days, with a donation request of $45. Visit UNITY's financial contribution page on its website to make a donation. Donors of the special campaign will be highlighted at UNITY's upcoming National UNITY Conference happening July 2 - 6, 2021, in Dallas, Texas.

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