“What exactly do you want?”
“What do you want decision makers or the public to do?”
“What are you trying to accomplish?”
When I think of what people from our community want, it is reflected in our actions.
We wanted to come together for love and celebration more than for violence and loss, so we created Meet Me at the Bell Tower.
We knew there was a need for people to understand the language and deception of politics and to improve their system literacy, so we made Politix Brain Storms.
We wanted families to know that there were people willing to listen to their needs and fight CFS alongside them to bring the children home, so we created Fearless R2W.
We wanted people who use drugs and struggle with harmful substances use that they are worthy of love, support and connection, so we created 13 Moons Harm Reduction.
We wanted to address the neverending stream of youth going from child welfare and directly into homelessness or jail, so we created Housing Solutions for Indigenous Youth innovation project.
We believe the media doesn’t celebrate the good things enough so we try to lead by example highlighting the awesomeness of our neighbourhoods on CKUW 95.9fm twice a month on Inner City Voices.
All of this has been possible because when urban Indigenous youth saw gaps in leadership in our community in the spring of 2010, we didn’t wait for elections or systems or dollars before we took action and at the Thunderbird House, we founded AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities).
This spring we will celebrate 10 years of creating as many leaders as we can to help support these initiatives, learn how to be good relatives and so much more. We want youth to be helpers in the village. Not because it’s glamourous but because it’s the work that needs to be done to support Indigenous youth and their families.
You can ask us what we want other leaders and systems to do, but if you’ve been paying any attention — our actions have been telling you for a long time.