New Canadian Media

In partnership with Apathy is Boring, New Canadian Media will be posting first-person accounts from the 150 Years Young Project, a campaign that highlights the positive impact youth are making throughout their communities.

Stephane Mukunzi, PACE Magazine

“It all comes back to the idea of bringing communities together. The spoken word collectives, the singers, the artists, the painters… they are all present in Ottawa. We just don’t have centralized spaces where people can go to see Ottawa artists and critical thinkers. And that’s what we are trying to achieve with PACE”.

As a twenty-three year-old videographer and photographer, Stephane Mukunzi was fed up with receiving the same old rejection letter after submitting work. After realizing there was no community of young artists in Ottawa’s art scene, Stephane decided to create one himself. He gathered together a group of young creatives and they developed PACE Magazine, a place where young artists and critically minded people could express themselves. Inspired by London’s DIY magazine culture, Mukunzi and his team wanted to maintain the classic element of print media while combining it with innovation and online presence. PACE aims to dismantle the hierarchical nature of art and ensure the representation of indigenous artists, black artists, artists of colour, women artists, immigrant artists, and anyone who may have turned away by the fine arts community.

The PACE team decided to give voice to those who haven’t had a chance to speak to Ottawa, and within the first year of launching, it is clear they have found voices that Ottawa is eager to hear. The magazine has published two print editions, created a website for creative content, and held two successful launch events that featured local photography, spoken word, and art pieces. After this continued foray into Ottawa culture, Stephane fully rejects the idea of Ottawa as a boring city and believes that the many creative scenes, are there to fill cultural needs if you are ready to integrate yourself into them. Looking for that first step? Check out the latest issue of PACE at http://www.pacemagazine.ca/

Khoebe Magsaysay, Artist/Filmmaker/Animator

“It’s really important to embrace and accept your disappointments and failures because they make a strong foundation for your future endeavours.”

Filipino-born Khoebe Magsaysay immigrated to Ontario when she was ten years old. After high school, she enrolled in the Honours Bachelor of Animation program at Sheridan College, and began a time of huge personal growth. At university, she learned to persevere through challenging times, cultivate her talent, and refine her skills as a filmmaker, animator, and artist.

Khoebe landed an internship in New York City for the summer between years three and four of her undergrad at Gameloft, a notable gaming company. Following her internship, Khoebe produced a short film, and the process of making it was very stressful and complex. The film, titled “NIHIL”, is about Adina, a character who is the epitome of perfection. Through a series of events, she comes to question her reality. The success of the film won Khoebe the Via Rail Award for Best Canadian Student Film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), which is considered one of the most prestigious international animation film festivals in the world. Khoebe has continued to excel in her field, working in Toronto at ToonBox Entertainment.


The 150 Years Young Project: In celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, Apathy is Boring is teaming up with community organizers and city ambassadors to recognize positive contributions by youth. Follow the hashtag #150yy for more!

Published in Arts & Culture

In partnership with Apathy is Boring, New Canadian Media will be posting first-person accounts from the 150 Years Young Project, a campaign that highlights the positive impact youth are making throughout their communities.

Komal Minhas, Owner of Ko-Media and Co-Founder of Dream, Girl

“Entrepreneurship builds a huge amount of resilience, capacity, emotional intelligence, and growth. My advice to young entrepreneurs is to take your time and build a strong group of people around you who can help you down your path- and remember to keep an intentionality to the hustle.”

As a successful young female entrepreneur who is the co-founder of widely viewed documentary Dream, Girl and the owner of her own media company, KoMedia, you may be surprised to learn that Komal Minhas got her start in Grand Prairie, Alberta. This rural city played an integral role in Komal’s story, as she was raised there by parents who immigrated from India. She grew up watching her parents face the many trials and triumphs of new immigrants and was inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit as they created a home for themselves. She also grew up witnessing the effects that patriarchal culture can have on women, and particularly young women and women of colour. She was always taught to dream big and she took this belief with her across the country as she started on a new path in Ottawa to pursue her dream of empowering women and girls.

After completing a degree in Journalism from Carleton University and graduate studies in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo, Komal fell in love with telling stories through video and documentary and gained an understanding of how business can have a positive impact when led by intentional and thoughtful leaders. Thus came the creation of KoMedia, which aims to create systemic change in how females are treated and does by undertaking projects that tell the complex and empowering stories of women and girls from around the world. Soon after, she connected with fellow entrepreneur Erin Bagwell, who had the innovative idea of creating a documentary that showcases the stories of female entrepreneurs, giving a voice to this underrepresented segment. Komal became a co-founder of the project, helping to create the documentary from pre-production, to production stages in New York City, to premiering across the world. The film has had many successes, from a sold-out public premiere at the Paris Theatre in NYC to a premiere hosted by Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in Ottawa. Komal is currently working out of Ottawa, a city that she continues to call her home-base despite having worked in many thriving cities around the world. 

Christo Bilukidi, Entrepreneur, OCH Ambassador, and Former NFL Player

“I just want to show youth that you are not limited to anything in this world because of your upbringing, your circumstances, or your environment. You can do anything you set your mind to. A lot of people might tell you this, but I believe this because I have lived it, and that’s why I am an OCH Ambassador”.

Growing up in Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) and coming from a single-parent immigrant household, Christo Bilukidi was taught the values of hard work and perseverance. These came in handy when he found himself playing football for the first time in the twelfth grade and having a natural affinity for the sport, beginning a journey that he never imagined himself undertaking. By pushing himself through trainings, try-outs, and SAT tests, Christo earned a full-ride scholarship to play football at Georgia State University. Soon after, he was drafted into the NFL and played for the Oakland Raiders, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Baltimore Ravens. 

After five seasons in the NFL, Christo decided to take his retirement and follow a different passion: entrepreneurship. He is now a co-owner of a successful tailored suit business, Idlewood, and uses his free time for volunteerism. Christo decided to return to Ottawa, where he felt a strong sense of community in his home city and wanted the chance to give back. He is an OCH Ambassador, using his experiences growing up and in the sporting community to be a positive role model to youth. He cites that he will take part in as many community outreach opportunities as he can get his hands on, and is often engaging in public speaking at high schools or community centres in OCH neighbourhoods. On top of this, Christo is working on organizing a football camp for youth that he hopes will feature current NFL players and local Ottawa players to help empower young people through athleticism. He believes that sports are a great tool for youth empowerment, as they teach discipline, hard work, and motivation.


The 150 Years Young Project: In celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, Apathy is Boring is teaming up with community organizers and city ambassadors to recognize positive contributions by youth. Follow the hashtag #150yy for more!

Published in Arts & Culture

In partnership with Apathy is Boring, New Canadian Media will be posting first-person accounts from the 150 Years Young Project, a campaign that highlights the positive impact youth are making throughout their communities.

Mathura Mahendren, Toronto for Everyone

“I thought I was going to move away from the city, but something keeps drawing me back in. There’s a change for the better coming, and I want to be a part of that.”

Mathura has seen and had opportunities to learn about the strength of community-driven growth. While she proactively takes on roles and responsibilities that allow her to be the proverbial “fly on the wall”, the work she has done, and continues to do for community development, is difficult to dismiss for its impact. Over the past few years, Mathura was given the opportunity to work on Global Health initiatives in Malawi and The Gambia towards implementing sustainable and community-developed innovations in health promotion and education.

As someone who struggles with dichotomies and, instead, operates primarily within the grey-spaces, Mathura stresses the importance of embedded learning experiences in Global Health initiatives. She discusses this concern in the face of work being done with the intention of establishing a “one-size-fits-all” solution to Global Health problems. Her opportunities, she explains, have helped her appreciate the nuances and complexities of individual narratives and how they fit together towards large scale concerns.

Today, Mathura is working actively with the Toronto for Everyone initiative to jumpstart the city towards a more inclusive community that all can feel a part of. Spearheaded by the Centre for Social Innovation, the initiative organized a farewell event at the end of February to honour Honest Ed’s legacy as being an establishment of inherent inclusivity.

Salima Visram, Soular Backpack

“I believe that every human requires food, water, education, access to healthcare, and economic empowerment. I hope that Soular is able to become the catalyst for individuals and communities to develop these essentials for themselves.”

Salima was raised in Kenya and came to Canada for her university education at McGill where she studied International Development and Business. She founded Soular in 2014 after learning that kids were using kerosene to power the lights they used to study with in the evening. Kerosene, when exposed to in large quantities, increases the risk of cancer and several other health problems. These issues also lead to poor performance in school, with many kids unable to move on to secondary education.

Knowing this, and brainstorming several interventions, Salima presented the Soular Backpack – a backpack with solar panels, a battery, and now a lamp that is charged over the course of the day for students to use in the evenings. Her initial Kickstarter campaign was able to fundraise $50,000 towards making this project a reality and get the first 2,500 backpacks on the ground in Kenya. She is hoping that, by the end of May 2017, Soular is able to provide 4,000 kids across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda with backpacks.

Salima believes that it is important to consider financial sustainability for not-for-profit organizations so that they are able continue working towards their mission independently. She is, therefore, using a one-for-one model to pair buyers from established economies to support the users in East Africa. Salima hopes that Soular is able to expand its impact to the rest of Africa and establish itself towards supporting the education of these students.


The 150 Years Young Project: In celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, Apathy is Boring is teaming up with community organizers and city ambassadors to recognize positive contributions by youth. Follow the hashtag #150yy for more!

Published in Arts & Culture

Commentary by Ilona Dougherty

Last week, when it became clear that the ‘Leave’ side had narrowly won the referendum in Britain, my Facebook and Twitter feeds began filling up with a graphic that demonstrated just how divided the results were among the generations. Is this a sign of heightened generational tension, or in an era of rapid change, do grandparents and grandkids still have more in common than the Brexit fallout would suggest?

As the world waits to find out exactly what Brexit will mean and how messy the consequences will be, the initial reactions to the vote last week were swift and filled with emotion as those on the losing side looked for ways to making sense of the unexpected result.

We have seen it on this side of the pond before. In Quebec, Jacques Parizeau’s famous ‘money and the ethnic vote’ quote was once again the subject of news headlines last week when the City of Montreal renamed a park in his honour. Even 20 years later, the blame game that took place after the 1995 referendum still leaves emotions raw.

The rate of change is speeding up, and a child today raised with an Ipad in their hands will likely have a significantly different experience than a one born five years from now who comes of age in an era when virtual reality is omnipresent.
 

In Britain, despite the anti-immigrant rhetoric throughout the campaign, the blame was placed squarely on the shoulders of grandmothers. As the YouGov poll whose graphic went viral outlined, 71 per cent of 18-25 year olds who voted in the referendum voted ‘Remain’, while 60 per cent of voters between the ages of 50 and 64 voted ‘Leave’. A chasm between generations.

But is this a sign that the old and young just don’t understand each other any more? Are our experiences and perspectives just too different in this day and age to be able to find common ground?

Generation expert Jason Dorsey from The Centre for Generational Kinetics argued in his 2015 Tedx talk, that there is some truth to the idea that the gaps between generational experience are widening. Due to the rapid pace of change, Dorsey suggests generations will in short order go from being 20-year spans of identities rooted in common experience to 5-year spans.

The rate of change is speeding up, and a child today raised with an Ipad in their hands will likely have a significantly different experience than a one born five years from now who comes of age in an era when virtual reality is omnipresent.

Dorsey also argues that this new reality will mean that younger generations will begin impacting older generations in a way they haven’t before. ‘Experience’ begins to have a different meaning when the name of the game is rapid change and growing up with an ingrained knowledge of technology is an advantage.

But does that perspective tell the whole story? No, says Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center in his book The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the looming generational showdown. Despite the somewhat misleading title of the book, he argues that “despite their many differences, young and old…aren’t spoiling for a fight….they like each other too much.”

Having grown up in households that involved more democracy than hierarchy when it comes to child and parent relationships, kids these days have more of a say than children did in past generations. And this means that they actually really like their parents and grandparents. Economics may be a driving factor behind why 42 per cent ofCanadians in their 20s still live with mom and dad but Taylor would also argue that the option of staying in the family now is more likely because young people these days like their parents and see no reason to break up a good arrangement.

Taylor argues that any showdown that might be looming is one about economic inequality, not age. “It’s 1 per cent vs. 99 per cent, not young versus old. Occupy Wall Street, not Occupy Leisure World.”

“It’s 1 per cent vs. 99 per cent, not young versus old. Occupy Wall Street, not Occupy Leisure World.”

This dynamic was also playing out with the Brexit vote, where pundits and pollsters outline that educational and wage divides paint a starker picture than age.

No matter what the reality, as the results came in, a picture was painted pitting generations against each other — a narrative that may be damaging and is likely to stick around for a while. As we have seen in Quebec, moments like these can set the tone of a debate for decades to come.

As calmer heads prevail and the emotional rhetoric dies down, it will be important to counter this divisive narrative and instead work to build bridges between those of different generations and those with differing views. And keep to in mind that the only age cohort that truly has the right to be angry about the result are the 16- and 17-year-olds who didn’t get to vote.

Ilona Dougherty is a youth engagement expert and the co-founder of Apathy is Boring. She is a regular commentator in national media, a published author, and speaks to audiences internationally about how we can tap into the innovation potential of Millennials and Gen Z. She was named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network in 2015.

Republished under arrangement with ipolitics.ca

Published in Commentary
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 20:31

Getting First-Time Voters to the Polls

by Caro Loutfi in Montreal

When it comes to elections, new Canadian citizens and young Canadian voters share similar challenges. Broadly speaking these two demographics share an unfamiliarity with the Canadian democratic process. Put another way, both are often first time voters.

An event hosted by the Canadian Arab Institute Oct. 1 recognizes this overlap – the theme of the evening is youth.

A panel including representatives from Free The Children, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Samara and Apathy is Boring will take questions after discussing topics relating to immigrant youth and how to encourage their civic participation.

Similar barriers 

To better understand some of the barriers that new Canadians encounter when voting, the Institute of Canadian Citizenship recently released a report entitled Ballots and Belonging. 

The study used a national online survey, along with focus groups in seven Canadian cities, to uncover the attitudes of new Canadians when it came to political participation. 

Comparing the findings of Ballots and Belongings to the 2011 National Youth Survey conducted by Elections Canada, we see similar attitudes and barriers regarding voting. 

[A]pathy is not a main barrier to voting for either new or young Canadian demographics.

For example, Ballots and Belonging found 40 per cent of new Canadians surveyed listed time constraints as a barrier to voting. The 2011 National Youth Survey indicated that 50 per cent of Canadians under 24 did not vote due to being occupied with studies, work or caring for a family member. 

Another similar finding by both studies is that apathy is not a main barrier to voting for either new or young Canadian demographics. 

Ballots and Belonging found only six per cent of those surveyed did not vote due to lack of interest in politics, while the 2011 National Youth Survey found 12 per cent of young Canadians did not vote due to “not caring about politics”. 

Similar interests 

Where new Canadian citizens and young Canadians truly overlap is in their recommendations for how to improve the electoral process. 

The Broadbent Institute's Millennial Dialogue Report demonstrates that Canadian millennials are keen to have Internet voting, longer polling hours and more convenient polling stations. These are the very same recommendations given by the participants in Ballots and Belonging. 

[I]t is important that young and new Canadians be offered clear and concise information about our election process.

This alignment again shows how new Canadians and young Canadians share attitudes towards our electoral system. 

Due to these similarities it is important that young and new Canadians be offered clear and concise information about our election process.   

Apathy is Boring continues to share accessible, non-partisan information with both demographics through our website, and we launched a #5MMV campaign to highlight the diversity and power of the more than five million millennial voters eligible to cast a ballot this election. 

The Canadian Arab Institute is drawing attention to the issue through its youth forum and yourvoiceCAN campaign. 

We encourage readers to engage with these campaigns, share them with their friends and, most importantly, cast a ballot on October 19. 


Caro Loutfi is the executive director of Apathy is Boring, working in a non-partisan manner and on a national scale to engage Canadian youth in democracy. She currently sits on the Inspirit Foundation’s board, working to inspire pluralism among young Canadians and has been involved in the volunteer sector for over nine years.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

 

 

 

Published in Commentary

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

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The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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