Youth-led organizations and projects
Calling all youth – this section is for you! Youth in Canada have been challenging racism and colonialism for decades, and this section of the website showcases some of the amazing initiatives you’ve come up with to make the world a safer and more equitable place. Click on the videos, image gallery, publications, websites, and media sections for more.
Think we’re missing something? Want us to showcase your project or video on our website? Let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Link of the month [or week]: [showcased youth site in a box]
Youth Action Network (YAN) is dedicated to helping youth become more informed and actively involved in order to move towards a just and sustainable society. We strongly believe in the ability of youth to affect change in the world. We understand the need for a stronger voice and for greater participation in our local and global communities. The main functions of YAN are to provide information and promote action. Each fall, YAN hosts RUCKUS!, a free activism and anti-racism conference for high school-aged youth of Colour, their Allies and other concerned youth. Check it out here.
Freedom Youth Collective is a Toronto-based for youth, by youth group, which aims to use multi-media to speak out about the issues affecting our communities. Our members are youth that work to counter negative stereotypes and the underrepresentation of marginalized people in the mainstream media. As youth, we know that we have meaningful things to say about a wide range of topics, including gender-based violence, racism, poverty, homophobia, education, policing and housing. FYC is a place to make your voice heard. The site features news on current events and interviews with youth making positive change in their communities, as well as visual arts, music, poetry, and videos created by youth. The Collective also provides skills based workshops and trainings on equity and education, gender based violence, racism, anti-oppression, and media skills development.
Snap! is a summer program for young people of colour and Indigenous people, ages 16 to 30, to learn skills, share ideas and gain experiences that will help us change the world we live in ending racism and all forms of discrimination and oppression that affect us. We are moving to our own beats because this is a program for youth, by youth. We believe that we know best what affects us, and how we can - and do - affect change. While the last Snap! was held in 2007, visit their website for the Freedom School zine and ideas for workshops you can do in your own community.
Because you're sick of being asked "Where're you from? No, where are you really from?" Because Asian is not just curry paste, Lucy Liu, and henna 'tattoos'. Asian is not just being obscure one day and trendy the next, being quiet and well-behaved or being stopped every time you go to the airport or cross a border. Because you're sick of being profiled and harassed by the cops. Because feeling inauthentic is okay.
The Asian Arts Freedom School is an art-based radical Asian history and activism program for Asian/Pacific Islander youth in the Greater Toronto Area. We cover various artforms including writing, spoken word, music, visual arts, film, breakdancing, theatre and modern dance. Asian = South Asian, West Asian (a.k.a. Arab or Middle-Eastern), Southeast Asian, East Asian, Central Asian... mixed-race, adoptee, suburban, hood... just got here or been here since the 1800s. Asian stretches from the Philippines to Palestine, North China to Sri Lanka, Trinidad to Tibet, and all of it ends up in Toronto.
TakingITGlobal enables a collaborative learning community which provides youth from 13 to 30 with access to global opportunities, cross-cultural connections and meaningful participation in decision-making. TIG offers a global online social network and hub for civic participation; content & tools for educators to facilitate rich, interactive learning experiences; outreach & collaboration tools for events, networks, campaigns, and causes; research, development, and sharing of best practices on youth engagement; and facilitated learning experiences through workshops, webinars, and e-courses. Check out their website for more info.
Colours of Resistance (COR) is a grassroots network of people (the majority based in Canada) who consciously work to develop anti-racist, multiracial politics in the movement against global capitalism. COR is both a thinktank and an actiontank, linking the issues of global capitalism with their local impacts. For us, this means working locally on issues such as anti-war, police brutality, prison abolition, indigenous solidarity, affordable housing, healthcare and public transportation, environmental justice, racist immigration policies, and many more. COR acts as a network for us to share support, ideas, and strategies with one another across our diverse communities. Click for articles, resources, and to join the COR listserv.
Decolonization and Anti-Racism Coalition (DARC) is an organization made up of Peterborough community members that work with the goal of building solidarity across differences for social change. We use a broad range of tactics including public education, social support, advocacy, and direct action to address historical and ongoing injustices that affect racialized and Indigenous peoples. We recognize that structures of oppression including patriarchy, ecocide, capitalism, imperialism, colonialism and racism are interconnected, mutually reinforcing and embodied in institutions. We believe decolonization 'at home' is an integral part of the struggle for global justice and self-determination. Decolonization is only effective by taking action through consensual efforts and building solidarity across intersecting identities and communities that are affected by structures of oppression. Visit their website for past events and information on how to get involved.
Queen’s Coalition against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination strives to be an anti-oppressive non-hierarchical coalition of students, staff and faculty that work to create an anti-racist climate on the Queen’s University campus. QCRED works towards community wellness for historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups. Through education, community organizing and commitment to struggle across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities.
Service Provision and Cuturally Specific Groups
As Metro Vancouver's only Native youth program-providing organization, we work to empower youth through our 21 programs in the areas of education & training, personal support, residential programs and sports & recreation. Our work also includes community development, research, advocacy, and cultural learning opportunities. The UNYA was formed in 1988 to address Native youth issues when it became apparent that growing numbers of young people were continuing to leave reserves for the city. Click here to visit the website of UNYA’s future Native Youth Centre: http://www.nativeyouthcentre.ca/hirez/index.htm
Black CAP is an organization that works to reduce HIV/AIDS in Toronto’s Black, African and Caribbean communities and enhance the quality of life of Black people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS is spreading quickly in Toronto’s Black communities and we believe that our work is more important than ever. At this time, Black, African and Caribbean people account for more than one-fifth of all new HIV infections in Toronto, in the early nineties we made up only one-tenth of new HIV infections. Issues of HIV related stigma and discrimination, homophobia, anti-Black racism, immigration, poverty, and barriers to social inclusion also continue to make our work harder. Check out their youth-specific programs such as Mate Masie, Anti-Homophobia, and Roots of Risk.
For Youth Initiative is an organization that is committed to creating healthy communities by increasing life-chances of youth at-risk. We do this through the provision of empowering programs and services that are youth-driven, inclusive and accessible. For Youth Initiative aims to create healthy communities where youth are fully engaged and equal participants in society. Click to check out their programs in community engagement, cultural & media arts, life skills, recreation and more.
Young Diplomats: Empowering Ethiopian Youth
The purpose of Youth Diplomats is to: create youth-friendly positive spaces; connect youth with role models who look like them; provide resources for youth to enable them to reach their short-term and/or long-term goals; mobilize Ethiopian youth in Toronto; and challenge youth to create opportunities that they want to experience. Because we need to take advantage of the resources at our dispense to achieve our goals. Because we acknowledge the struggles of our elders and we want to mobilize as youth to make our mark in Canadian society. Because the only way that we can envision change is if we create those opportunities for change.
Advocacy and Human Rights Groups
The Toronto 18 site is dedicated to 18 local Torontonians who have been arrested, accused and 'charged' since June 2nd, 2006: 3 are kept in solitary confinement at the Don Jail for almost 2 years; 7 are are kept in detention without bail at Maplehurst; one youth is awaiting trial; 3 youth have their charges dismissed/ stayed; 4 of the 14 young adults were out on unusually strict bail conditions, and now have their charges dismissed/ stayed. All have been or are currently being deprived of their basic human rights. Follow their stories here.
The Presumption of Innocence Project (PIP) is a broad-based coalition that supports and defends civil liberties, the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. We came together in response to the treatment of 18 Muslim men who were arrested in Toronto in June 2006 for alleged terror-related activity. We support their right to be tried fairly by the courts, and not by the press or by public opinion. We support their right to be presumed innocent, and not to be treated as already convicted. We include labour, student, faith, community and social justice organizations and activists.
No One Is Illegal is a group of immigrants, refugees and allies who fight for the rights of all migrants to live with dignity and respect. We believe that granting citizenship to a privileged few is part of a racist immigration and border policies designed to exploit and marginalize migrants. We work to oppose these policies, as well as the international economic policies that create the conditions of poverty and war that force migration. At the same time, it is part of our ongoing work to support and build alliances with Indigenous peoples in their fight against colonialism, displacement and the ongoing occupation of their land. Click to be directed to NOII activities in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.