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Peace by Piece 2017 Youth Summit

Youth listening Attentively

We as a group stand with women’s rights. We are standing for human rights. Everybody has to clean the house, not just women (Scarborough NYLD).

These inspirational quotes, along with so many others, were part of the messages delivered by 140 YMCA youth from the Youth Leadership Development (YLD) and Newcomer Youth Leadership Development (NYLD) programs as they gathered together on November 18th at the Central YMCA for the annual YMCA Peace by Piece Youth Summit, part of the Y’s annual Peace Week celebrations.

We stand together, we fight together, we are together (Markham YLD)

Youth watch a presentation

Youth came from 14 locations across the GTA — some by buses and others by public transportation, their faces all filled with excitement, energy, and enthusiasm as they set out to meet other youth, participate in workshops and learn to take action on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls.

Speaker talks to YouthThe afternoon was packed with learning and action. It started on a high note as keynote speaker Karen Craggs-Milne inspired and encouraged youth to take action on gender equality, women’s inclusion, and women’s participation.

Use today to learn, use your voice to make a change

Karen said as she sent off the youth to participate in the four workshops designed to provoke alternative ways of thinking about gender and to break down stereotypes that continue to feed an unequal and unjust world.

Speaker interacts with YouthEach workshop became a participatory space where all youth took action to promote gender equality. In each workshop group, youth from a wide range of backgrounds discussed gender norms and the role of social media and society. In addition to these subjects, there were also discussions about women’s rights, activism, diversity, and much more.

To end the afternoon, the youth showcase their own videos, which were produced to create awareness and as a concrete action against gender inequality. As a youth from the Mississauga NYLD youth stated,

We think we got everybody on the same page!