On Wednesday, May 24, more than 80 young people from west and north Toronto attended an event in honour of the National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week, an initiative funded by the Department of Justice Canada. This year’s theme is “Empowering Resilience”, a topic that our event embodied from beginning to end. “Expressionz” showcased the resiliency of youth survivors of crime through expressions of personal art, from dance to spoken word, from hip hop to visual arts.
We opened with a sharing circle, continued with workshops, and finished off with a talent show. This event was also an opportunity for youth to connect with service providers and learn about community supports. We invited representatives from: Black Coalition for Aids Prevention, Woodgreen’s Rites of Passage, the Black Creek Community Health Centre, Justice for Children and Youth, Toronto Community Housing, a Youth Employment Officer and the Zero Gun Violence Movement to present and participate in the day’s discussions. Additional National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week events will be taking place across the country from May 28 to June 3.
Many thanks to the Grant-writing Team for securing the funds that made this event possible. We appreciate ReAct peer facilitators and Wendy Desouza for coordinating the event, as well as the TDSB and the City of Toronto for providing in-kind support. Thank you to Erica Ida Bota of Think Link for graphically recording our event and creating a wonderful work of art we will treasure for years. Many thanks to Toronto Public Health for helping us to secure a space, and the Department of Justice Canada for its generous funding.
Most importantly, our deepest gratitude to the youth participants, who shine brightly with resistance and resiliency in the face of adversity and injustices.