This year we were faced with a large number of applicants for the Jeremy Dias scholarship, so many of whom were inspirational, intelligent and heart-warming. The Youth Advisory Committee remained at Jer’s Vision HQ for hours, eventually narrowing down our search to three top applicants. Our decision to give the scholarship to Kenji Tokawa was unanimous. His commitment to the Trans community and the LGBTQIA community at large was just the kind of youth leadership that Jer’s Vision hopes to inspire in youth across Canada.Kenji is currently studying at the University of Toronto. Kenji’s application was selected out of our top three for his outstanding qualities, but the YAC had an extremely difficult time deciding on this year’s winner. Below are the runners up for the Jeremy Dias Scholarship, Shaina Agbayani and Benjamin Boudreau. These two young adults have done some outstanding activism which Jer’s Vision would like to recognize and display.
Shaina Agbayni is a political science major with a minor in women’s studies at McGill University. Shaina writes for McGill Daily and has been working with the Filipino-Canadian community in Montreal through creating opportunities for activism and education. Her work on campus was what originally struck me as so impressive, as I do not believe there is a single student establishment which she is not a part of. She is extremely involved in her campus life and integrates her anti-oppression work into her student activism. Every single reference letter said the same thing: Shaina is bright and has a very optimistic future, she works hard and reaches out to all those around her. Jer’s Vision wishes you all the best in the future Shaina!
Benjamin Boudreau is a mechanical engineering student at Concordia University. Ben’s crusade for Trans rights on his University campus made him an ideal candidate for our scholarship. Ben recently lead the fight to make sure that trans and non-gender-binary people on his campus could use their preferred name on their student identification cards and take off the gender indicator all together if they wished. Thanks to Ben, Concordia is now the first University in Quebec to allow trans-identified and non-gender-binary to use their preferred names and to choose not to use gender markers on their identifications. Ben also works in several trans rights groups in Montreal and cuts hair for the homeless once a week. Good luck with the rest of your studies, Ben!
Youth Advisory Committee Leader
Jer’s Vision Canada
440 Albert St, Suite C304
Albert Street Educational Centre
Ottawa, ON K1R 5B5