Vancouver, 3-4 October 2015
The 2015 Youth Action Gathering (YAG) was held at UBC Robson Square, on Unceded Coast Salish territories in Vancouver, BC. It was organized by the CCR in partnership with Vancouver Foundation's Fresh Voices Initiative and Mosaic.
Nearly 200 participants from 6 provinces across Canada attended the conference. 150+ were youth from refugee and immigrant backgrounds, 6 were youth who identified as indigenous to Canada, and 40+ were youth workers and allies. The 2015 YAG was the largest YAG conference to date in terms of youth participation.
A recurring theme during the conference was the collaboration between indigenous youth, and immigrant and refugee youth. Participants thought of the links between migrant and refugee experiences, and indigenous experiences, and how to work together in solidarity.
Throughout the YAG, participants increased their knowledge of various issues during plenary sessions with keynote speakers. These included sessions on youth engagement, indigenous and migrant movements, and access to education. The participants also had many opportunities to share their own experiences, ideas, and suggestions, during breakout sessions geared toward small group discussions. The topics of these sessions included the immigration and refugee systems, sanctuary cities, sex education for migrant communities, getting involved in the CCR Youth Network, going deeper when exploring gender and sexual orientation and a workshop on advocacy and system changes.
At the end of the conference, the participants voted on priority issues and actions to focus on after the YAG. They selected the following:
- Immigration policy
- Access to education
- Mental health
- Start hiring young people
- Support youth scholarships
- Develop youth engagement/leadership
"I think it is important to raise our voices against second class citizenship, because we want equal rights and safety. I realized that if we do it together, we can achieve it."
-YAG 2015 participant