Three youth from Lady Grey Elementary School (LGES) travelled to Toronto earlier this month to participate in the Canada We Want conference.
The conference invited youth from all over Canada to engage and support youth organizations, and discuss different areas of Canada’s future that affects youth.
LGES students Eve Broderick, Leah Kielty, and Awnya Divall attended the conference in Toronto, addressing structural racism.
“Before we went to the conference, we were doing all sorts of work about issues affecting indigenous youth across Canada,” explained Kristine Divall.
The students worked with Metis artist Dawna-Lea Ringer so create an art project called Project of the Heart, and learned about structural racism prior to heading to the conference.
“The idea coming back from the conference is they came up with some plans of what they’d like to do in our community,” Divall said.
The group of LGES students were teams up with 12 youth of all different ages from across Canada to discuss important issues pertaining to youth in this country, and came up with some recommendations they would give to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The students have also expressed an interest in creating a travelling presentation to accompany a piece they crafted about moccasin design.
In their recommendations, they also included that they would like to participate in more workshops in their school about cultural racism.
The students are particularly interested in structural racism, because there needs to be more education surrounding it to create an inclusive atmosphere for all students and youth in Canada, not depending on race and culture.
“It’s basically when there are systems in place, and if you think about starting with biases and stereotypes, and then your’e adding power and authority to them,” explained Divall. “The more power and authority gets added with something, the more it becomes true in society. It’s just something that we accept as fact. That’s how racism gets built into the structure of our society.”
The Canada We Want conference is led by the Students Commission of Canada, and brought more than 200 youth together to discuss issues like structural racism, mental heath and wellness, marketing food to youth, children’s rights in Canada, gender based violence, youth identity development, and much more.