Na-il’s work with the Crossroads Collaborative began with his time at Eon. Eon works to strengthen the gay, lesbian, bisexual, two spirit, transgender, queer, questioning, intersexed, and straight ally youth communities by creating social opportunities, providing information and support on health issues, advocating for youth rights and challenging society’s perceptions of youth as they face institutionalized oppressions that target the many facets of their identities.
The founder and former coordinator of the Arizona Gay Straight Alliance Network and former Eon Youth Lounge program coordinator, Zami Tinashe Hyemingway, told us that “Na-il has shown tremendous growth since (he) met him almost two years ago. Na-il has great potential as a leader in the community and amongst his peers. If he stays focused he can achieve anything."
Na-il just finished his Associate’s degree in fine arts from Pima Community College; he concentrated in dance. Na-il’s long-term goal is to become a dance instructor, and he plans on working as a teacher’s aide in route to that goal. He is currently preparing to work on the Southwest Conservation corps' Tucson based camping crew. He plans to work with the corps throughout the year and go back to school once this opportunity ends.
Na-il says that his work with Eon, “helped greatly in the areas of opening up to new people and getting to know their stories as well as they wanted to get to know his.” He says that this gave him the confidence to take up dance, which had been a long-time passion of his. His ability to open up—made only stronger by the connections he made at Eon—encouraged Na-il to major in dance. Na-il also told us that, “Teaching others that it was okay to be (myself) taught (him) that in order to do that, (one) has to pursue what she loves, and that once you find that passion, nothing can inhibit her from achieving the goals one has for herself.” His current goal now is to pass that knowledge on to others, so that they can become whom they were meant and rise to their full potential.