Hi everyone! Amanda here with my first blog post since taking on the role of National Forums Coordinaor. We hope everyone has had an amazing summer!. It’s been a fabulous summer of Pride cruises, parades and celebrations but my favourite of all would have to be the Allyship in Action Forums held in Vancouver and Ottawa. We brought youth together from across the country to engage in intersectional and activist workshops that would help foster their capacity to practice solidarity with diverse communities. I was blown away and inspired by all the participants who joined us and hearing about the steps they take to ensure that their communities are safe and inclusive for themselves and their peers. I am so grateful to had the experience watching them grow and learn from the workshops presenters and build friendships with other young people from across the country over the course of the week long event. We can’t wait to here about all the amazing ideas they bring back home with them.
Here to share a first hand experience about what the event was all about is none other than Viv, one of the fantastic mentors who attended the Allyship in Action forum this summer.
“Greetings everyone! It’s Viv, the proud mentor of Toucan house from the first ever Allyship in Action forum located in Burnaby, BC. This August I, along with a handful of youth from across the west coast, gathered at the Simon Fraser University, excited and slightly nervous to attend the week-long CCGSD forum. Our focus for the week was to educate and engage youth in discussions regarding intersectional activism.
During the mentors’ first night at SFU, we made (adorable) posters and talked about our mutual growing anticipation for meeting our mentees. The next day, upon finally getting to meet everyone, I quickly realized that we all have one thing in common- a burning passion to help make the world a kinder place.
After settling in with warm welcomes and groovy icebreakers, several inspiring speakers came in to share with us the work that they’ve done in their communities and sparked conversation regarding what we can do within our own. It was an eye opening experience to spend the week learning about what people, from politicians to film makers, are doing to create positive change and bring awareness to marginalized groups. I ran one of the workshops with my fellow mentor, Elise, and we held discussions on the representation of queer women which led to very insightful responses from participants. It was in that moment which I was reminded that when there’s a room full of youth ready to take positive action, incredible ideas are born and shared.
Throughout the week, not only did we learn a lot from the speakers, we also learned a great deal from one another. By bonding through a heartwarming talent show, exploring Granville Island, and laughing at an improv performance until our stomachs were in pain, the Allyship in Action forum family built an everlasting network to receive support and advice from, despite the week coming to a bittersweet end.
Now reflecting back on the wonderful memories, I’ve come to conclude that from attending the wide range of keynotes and workshops, to being able to make an abundance of fruit smoothies in the morning, Allyship in Action YVR has truly been a remarkable journey.