Youth to Mississauga/Peel institutions/leaders “You gotta come out of your comfort zone, come from your office…”
February 23rd, 2009
I’ve been planning my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions for almost a year now. In some ways I knew that they’d coincide with those that I was working on for 2008.
Only I didn’t make these resolutions up. They were written for me during a conversation I had with a “street” Youth last February. Since then I’ve tried striking up conversations with other Youth but I’m not often successful. And the Youth who do engage me in conversation aren’t really my “target” group.
I know it’s stupid —counter-intuitive, but I really want to talk to the Youth who are as Unconnected with Institutions as I’ve become.
I want this “YouthSpeak” for the record.
Please remember that this conversation occurred a full year ago —before Peel’s Summer Spike of Homicides, the Market Meltdown, fears of a recession, the release of the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” and fears of a depression.
Watching the video I made (his image is not shown and both our voices are altered) and reading this transcript might help readers understand why The Mississauga Muse has taken to the buses and transit terminals. Tried to come out of her “comfort zone”…
I know with absolute certainty that I’m not hearing Youth Voices through government summits, agencies, committees (or their “community partners”) and “task forces”. So.
Youth to Mississauga/Peel Politicians: “COME OUT OF YOUR OFFICES AND YOUR COMFORT ZONES!” (3 min)
What follows is a TRANSCRIPT:
Basically what I wanted to say was we need to develop a more positive relationship between young people and law enforcement. Not even just law enforcement alone but teachers and citizens because I don’t see a good harmonious relationship between The Young and The Old. There seems to be a split, like there’s a divide or something.
I mean it’s like a cancer going on right now.
Children are not gettin’ educated. You’ve got too much violence on the streets. There’s not enough educational opportunities. There’s not a lot of job opportunities —there’s not opportunities in skills or trades. Like no one’s willing to teach young people nothin’.
So what do you expect them to do?
They’re gonna be in the malls. They’re gonna be on the street corners. They’re gonna be doin’ these things because nobody gives a ****. You dig?
So. If you as a person, who has children, you’re gonna grow up your children in the world and cater just to your babies alone, when growing up with people just like them who are going through the same **** they’re goin’ through, and you’re not gonna cater to all of them kids, just your own children?
You’re a fraudulent parent then, coz you can’t be a parent to just one child, especially in this day and time. You gotta be involved in your children’s life.
You’re got to be involved, PERIOD.
If there’s one message you want to give the Mayor and the Councillors and anybody that has power, the Commissioners and stuff like that, for Youth, and to speak for the Youth, and I’m not worried about the Youth at this point, who are more than well-taken care of, but the ones you care about, what would it be?
The message would be?….
And don’t feel you have to say something right away. I can turn this camera off and you can collect your thoughts.
I’m speaking for a community of people right now. I’m not representing Youth. I’m representing a whole genre of people. So the basic thing would be —RESPECT us, help us, help us to be self-sufficient and we’ll help you. You just gotta give and take. If you want us to be self-sufficient, you gotta help us.
You gotta come out of your comfort zone, come from your office, come from your desks, put down your job titles…
Please do that. Like literally. Come off that way of thinking and actually come into the streets and talk to the people that you claim to represent. You must! There’s not even an option no more!
Since our conversation, I’ve spent an intense year researching and observing all manner of youth-related committees and thrusts. I can state with 100% confidence that I GET IT.
I get why The Poor are screwed over, are destined to get poorer and why more Poor will join their ranks.
I GET IT why and how so many of our at-riskiest of at-risk Youth are betrayed by the institutions ostensibly there to serve them.
And there’s not a single thing that I can do to change it.
All that I can continue to do is bear witness and document what isn’t happening.
And that’s 2009 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #2.
The (YOUTH: I vow to bear witness and document what isn’t happening) Mississauga Muse