By Ejemen Iyayi
Like Check Your Head, Dialogues Youth Vancouver is a youth-led initiative that places value in opportunities for young people to come together and share their thoughts, skills and resources in an effort to create a more socially just and inclusive Vancouver community. Specifically, as part of the City of Vancouver’s Vancouver Dialogues Project, in partnership with 27 diverse community organizations, this initiative aims to promote strengthened and sustained relations between First Nations, urban Aboriginal and immigrant/non-Aboriginal youth.
Using dialogue as a vehicle for this, one will quickly find how integral to the project the concept of sharing is; and closely connected to this idea of sharing is that of participation. Developed as a community-led engagement initiative, a key mission of Dialogues Youth is to garner and facilitate the participation of a large audience of Vancouver youth both offline and online. Dialogues Youth strives to make use of a variety of youth-friendly and accessible mediums in order to create spaces of dialogue where diverse Vancouver youth feel that their input is valued and welcome.
With participation in the online conversations about Vancouver’s indigenous and immigrant community relations as well as engagement in three Dialogue Youth Sessions at the end of April and the beginning of May, youth will identify key themes, discussion topics, and relevant issues which will inform the direction of a youth-led conference in June 2012. The exchanges of thoughts, ideas, stories, art, resources and more between youth from First Nations, urban Aboriginal and immigrant/non-Aboriginal communities will shape cross-cultural connections while demystifying stereotypes, celebrating cultural differences and exploring the shared interests of Vancouver’s diverse people.
Without a doubt, Dialogues Youth Vancouver values the youth voice. We want to hear your stories. And we want for you to appreciate those of others. Share. And, in the process, strengthen your community. I encourage you to start the legacy-building conversation right now. Start by following and tweeting to us on Twitter using the hashtag “#vandialogues” in your comments, liking us on Facebook and joining the dialogue there, or commenting on some of the posts on our website.
To date, amongst other posts, we’ve had the chance to ask youth around Vancouver what they would like to see coming out of Dialogues Youth, we’ve interviewed Linc Kesler (Director of the UBC First Nations Long House of Learning) about the initiative, and we have spoken to Michael Champagne of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities (AYO) about the importance of youth work, education and the demystification of stereotypes. Check out our website for more!
Taking the conversation further by SHARING our links with others in your networks! Let’s take this dialogue to another level. We’re making history here, folks!
Dialogues Youth aims to promote sustained dialogue among First Nations, Urban Aboriginal and immigrant/non-Aboriginal youth. We value community, accessibility, self-determination, representation, and equity. We also value dialogue for demystifying stereotypes, sharing our common interests and celebrating our cultures. Through dialogue, we believe that youth can influence history.