PIH's Parvannah Lee Reflects on Food Access in the Navajo Nation for Teen Vogue

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Parvannah Lee
Parvannah Lee, who was the first in her family to earn a college degree, interned with PIH in the Navajo Nation, where she worked on a program that improves Diné families' access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
Photo courtesy of Parvannah Lee

Parvannah Lee has a clear picture in her mind of what hunger looks like. It's of her mother walking miles through a snowstorm to the nearest grocery store.

So begins Lee’s essay about families in the Navajo Nation struggling to eat well and stay healthy. Published in Teen Vogue on November 22, the piece shares a glimpse of what it was like to grow up on the reservation—a 27,000-square-mile area that straddles Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. It touches on the shameful history of the United States government toward the Diné people, and the forces that created one of the largest food deserts in the United States. And it celebrates a grocery program, created by PIH sister organization COPE and for which Lee used to work, that is successfully improving health on the Navajo Nation, one family at a time.  

Lee is optimistic. Next month, she will start working for the Indian Health Service in South Dakota. She greatly admires her mother's dedication to keeping her family healthy and hopes that “some of my mother’s magic has rubbed off on me.” 

Read the full piece here: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/im-from-the-navajo-nation-and-i-want-to…

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