The year 2020 brought on a host of misfortunes and foreboding about the state of the society, but it also raised a nation of shared empathy. Youths have stepped up to educate, protest, organize and lead the world into greater heights.
In the front lines of social justice and artistic liberation, youths of different race, ethnicity and religion stand together linked against a world that smolders individuality and community encouragement.
A prime example is the Black Lives Matter rallies that happened in Saskatoon. Led and organized by Black youths in the community, the rallies showcased the fullness of a creative mind. The streets were filled with people not only supporting an important movement, but holding hands against those that choose to downplay the movement just because of the organizers’ age.
Delilah Kamuhanda, founder of Black Lives Matter YXE and co-ordinator of the June 13 BLM rally in Saskatoon, says this past summer was “eye opening to the resilience and capabilities of Black youth”.
“They had so much passion and talent, and they put it all into organizing an intersectional and liberating protest,” Kamuhanda said.
Witnessing the youth’s determination to be themselves, and their vision to express what being Black in Canada means, was an uplifting experience for Kamuhanda.
“The power in those moments is what inspired me to continue creating those spaces for Black folks in Saskatoon,” Kamuhanda said.
Finding a safe space to flourish as a youth artist can be difficult and disheartening. Organizations that value themselves in uplifting the voices of youths are beloved in the community. It means they are looking towards the future of leaders and trendsetters creating a positive influence in the world.
The Walrus, founded in 2003, is an award-winning non-profit organization that publishes independent, facts-based journalism. Their legacy lies in their fundraising events, the most popular being the acclaimed Walrus Gala. With a vast line-up of influential writers and performers like Margaret Atwood, Shad, David Frum, Ali Hassan, iskwē and Bif Naked, the audience can improve themselves while supporting an organization that empowers aspiring journalists and artists.
The 2021 Walrus Gala will be held virtually on Jan. 20, with the theme “Be Bold. Be Hopeful. Be Outrageously Optimistic” — a play on words about living through the pandemic but still finding the determination to share your story and art. With the help of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and the Saskatchewan Youth Poet Laureate, youth writers from across Saskatchewan have been handpicked to attend the virtual gala this year.
Some of the youth writers from the province that are invited to this year’s event are: Delilah Kamuhanda, Jade Belhumeur, Nykole King and Tomilola Ojo.
This is the first time that the Walrus Gala, based in Toronto, Ontario has reached out to the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild to invite youths to the acclaimed gala function. The Walrus Gala aims to inspire emerging young writers, artists and thinkers through this virtual event and connect them with content and insights that will be useful to their work.
Slowly, we are seeing a shift in the narrative when it comes to holding space for emerging youth artists as they find their voice in the creation of their future. We should not be the afterthought but encouraged to lead the way. Linked together in a giant line across the battered world, they pave the way for future generations.
What will they call the youth? Revolutionaries, strong-willed, powerful, fighters and dreamers.