Guest speaker inspires with message of hope


Native American model, actor and motivational speaker Dyami Thomas started the movement #live to motivate people from all walks in life.

Thomas was the guest speaker for the final Native American Heritage Month event hosted by Eastern New Mexico University’s Native American Affairs on Nov.27in the Sandia Room of the Campus Union Building.

Thomas spoke to attendees on suicide and how to prevent it from happening, especially with indigenous people.

Thomas talked about himself, and his family. He mentioned that his sister runs a non-profit organization called “Native Youth Leading Youth,” which has been active for seven years. The organization helps native youth in dealing with whatever issues they deal with in their daily lives and to prevent suicide. Thomas travels the world for speaking events.

Thomas asked those present at the event to stand up and close their eyes, envisioning a ball of light and standing in a tunnel with thousands of open doors. The ball of light is your goals in life, he said, reminding us there are thousands of doors but don’t let anything get in the way of achieving your goals.

Thomas talked about how throughout middle school, he was constantly picked on, because he was different from all the other boys. He lived in fear of going to school every day. He shared a memory of a time when he went to the bathroom and a group of boys followed him in to beat him up.

“I remember sitting their crying after they left. I didn’t leave the bathroom ‘til school ended. I was so scared to use the bathroom for the rest of the three years. I would think ugly thoughts, thinking it was my fault. I was contemplating cutting my hair just to fit in. I would hold in my urine, because I was scared I would get beat up,” said Thomas.

He went on to talk about a convention he went to, where 800 boys were supposed to show up, but only 500 attended, because the others had to attend the funeral of a 9-year-old boy who had taken his own life due to bullying.

Thomas also told a story of a student in his acting class taking her life because of domestic violence and bullying. Thomas became emotional as he talked about everything that happened when he found out that she had taken her own life.

“The natives all around the globe have high suicide rates, because everything that they have to deal with all adds up. They turn to drinking, smoking, and hanging with the wrong people. All those negative thoughts get the best of you,” said Thomas.

He told the audience whenever they see someone sitting by themselves or acting differently, go up to them and be there for them. Be that helping hand that they need, because those negative thoughts can get the best of you.

Thomas also mentioned a time when he contemplated suicide, because of all the negative thoughts that he was caught up in. At this point, he started another exercise in which he asked audience members to stand up and picture themselves in a mirror and repeat after him.

“I am strong. I am powerful, I am beautiful,” said Thomas.

Thomas told everyone to recognize that every time you say this, you are those things, making you feel great about yourself. Become those words.

Thomas also played a video he made for indigenous people about not being afraid to wear their hair long and to show others that they are proud of themselves and their heritage.

He concluded his presentation about resources for people who are going through a difficult time or contemplating suicide. They can download an app called Friend2Friend, and there are resources on campus, he said.

Resources:

  • National Hopeline Network: 800-SUICIDE

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255 (TALK)

  • Police

  • ENMU Department of Public Safety: 575-562-2392

  • Portales Police Department: 575-356-4404

  • Clovis Police Department: 575-769-1921

  • Police Escort: 575-760-2945

  • Roosevelt County Hospital: 575-359-1800

  • Counseling and Career Services: 575-562-2211

  • On-call counselor: 575-607-5689

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