Friday, September 30, 2011

Engaged: Who is MC Voting for…?

What up Point Douglas and world!

So this is it eh? The provincial election of 2011 to determine the person whose gonna rep our hood at the legislative building, and who the dude is who is going to run our province for the next couple years. So as someone under 30, and as an inner city resident, and as an aboriginal male…I am somehow magically...ENGAGED in the political process. It all started with a simple Google search in August searching for thepeople who were running. Since then, Teresa Pun hasentered as a 4th candidate with the Green Party, and Harry Rankin has come forward from the Communist Party. Now, seeing as how I am on the board for NECRC, communications with North End Community Helpers Network, work directly with the youth in AYO, and also am engaged with United Way of Winnipeg, I figured that these connections would allow for me to be very much engaged in this election.

AYO!’s PolitiX initiative did a first of its kind event at Ralph Brown Community Centre at the end of August called Get Informed.  This info focused event was intended to equip youth 12 to 30 with information about the upcoming election, candidate bios, and info on how to vote. It was a very much well spirited idea, but turned out to be an under attended event. A little discouraging but at least the foundation was layed for future events in upcoming elections or similair circumstances. We were also able to prepare 13 questions for the candidates to be sent ahead of our upcoming GET REAL forum.

In the beginning we tried having our GET Real event at the beginning of September. It turned out that the Labour Day weekend was bad for the politicians. On the day of GET REAL, due to Kevin Chief being the only actual confirmed candidate, we decided to re-schedule.  Apparently, we forgot to tell the newspaper, and another candidate actually ended up showing up at Turtle Island. It was very much a frustrating experience because even though some folks missed for legitimate reasons and others sent replacements, the spirit of the event was gone…there was no realness to be gotten.


Well, on Saturday September 24th, we actually had GET REAL. We had 3 candidates attend the event (Kevin Chief, Teresa Pun and Mary Lou Bourgeois) and some media. It was an informative event, in an intimate setting. We only had at most, 10 people sitting in the audience but the candidates still did the YES/NO thing. They also explained their Yesses and Nos in only 5 minutes which was great. Again, this was very much an under attended event, and was held on one of the days of advance voting, so I appreciate that these candidates took the time to come out themselves.  John Vernaus sent his campaign manager Chris to send regrets in person.


This past Monday, we had North End Votes. I got to act as moderator and met up with the 3 familair faces from GET REAL (Kevin, Teresa and Mary Lou) but also joined by 2 delegates, from the Communist, Cheryl Ann Carr, and from the Progressive Conservative Logan Deurksen. It was a very long event, with many people in the sparsely attended audience leaving at the half time break.  We were able to be flexible with the presentation, engage the audience, pull some answers out of some of the candidates, and basically see for ourselves what the parties priorities were. In addition, we had media there, free stew and bannock and of course merchandise in the form of t shirts, buttons and stickers. Awesomeness. Oh yeah, check out www.northendvotes.com for more awesomeness. (Pics from Kevin's Website)




Side note: this article pisses me off. That murder did not cause crime to be the focus of the forum, I was the moderator I should know. I think this reporter should take a little bit of sensitivity and maybe take a second to actually look at what is really happening instead of jumping to conclusion and, again, as is typical from many media, bring up the violence when community volunteers try to do something good. (see Lighting Up the Avenue). i wish the media would smarten up.
Challenges

So we have had some challenges getting folks engaged in this election. There have been murders, accidents, suicides, robberies and all sorts of shitiness in and around many people that I know and love. this isn’t easy to deal with. In addition, I have been asking a lot of the young people for a lot of their time and energy. In the past 2 weeks alone we have had: North End Votes, Get Real, Feasting Our Hand Drum and the Kookum’s5th Annual Medicine Walk and Clarky’s March Against Violence. The young people are tackled with tragedy and still show up to support our community and nation time and time again. But as you can see from the numbers at these political events…its getting harder. We need the politicians to work with us, listen to us and continue to engage us, beyond the silly promises and rehearsed speeches of this election.

So Who Am I voting for…

Well, I have listened and have narrowed it down to one of two choices…however, it is important for me to say I haven’t voted yet, and am still listening to everything that’s happening. Kevin Chief (NDP) OR Teresa Pun(Green Party). I have known Kevin Chief for a number of years and continue to cross paths with him in the community and youth engagement world. We have both been recipients of the Future Leaders of Manitoba award in the Community Service section. Miss Teresa is new to me, but speaks so passionately, and is aware of topics and passionate as hell. She has a lot of innovative ideas and I am really attracted to the Green Party due to the actions of James Beddome. I have a lot of respect for both of these candidates and look forward to continuing our relationship regardless of the outcome of this election. Thanks so much to Mary Lou Bourgeois, who is so sweet and really loves her aunt!

MC’s final decision…coming SATURDAY!!! (stay tuned to eMCeeZ LoG)

Love & Respect peeps.

MC

PS -  don’t forget advance polls are open and voting day is October 4th!

PPS -  check out my favourite campaign video so far that shows goodness in the North End. And by the way, Greg Selinger, can you and the NDP knock it off with the attack ads??? Seriously you have run one of the most negative ads I have ever seen. Can you please take a minute and think about the person you dedicated this election to. Try doing politics in a positive fashion if you actually do get re-elected, the young people I speak to are very turned off by this. I don’t care how effective they are.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Happened @ GET REAL Point Douglas



GET REAL was a candidates forum where provincial Point Douglas candidates must face the youth they are trying to represent.  Each candidate will introduce themselves and participate in an introductory activity.  Then, we will move to the forum portion where students can ask their yes or no questions to the candidates. The candidates CANNOT SPEAK to answer the question, and must instead, concurrently hold up their YES/NO response to that youth’s question. At the end, each candidate will be given 5 minutes to explain their answers before the event comes to a conclusion.
Candidates in Attendance:
Kevin Chief – NDP
Teresa Pun – Green Party
Mary Lou Bourgeois – Liberal Party
This was a youth focused candidate’s forum for Point Douglas (North End) in which Kevin Chief (NDP), Mary Lou Bourgeois (Liberal Party) and Teresa Pun (Green Party) will faced off with one another. John Vernaus sent his campaign manager, Chris, in person to deliver regrets. The following questions were drafted at Get Informed in late August.

Note: the following details are the Yes or No Responses. More info will be shared soon from each candidate!

GET REAL Youth Questions

  1. Will you support building Bipole 3 on the West Wide of Lake Manitoba?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Natural resource extraction is a hot topic right now in the world. Do you support the XL Pipeline that will provide crude oil to customers from the United States?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Youth are getting involved in programs that end suddenly after 1 or 2 years. Will you make a plan to solve the funding crisis that is happening for youth programs in the inner city?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Will you put a cap on class sizes?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa

            Would it be as small as 20?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Is there a plan in pace to support grade 11 and 12 students that are not served by the Pathways to Education Program?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Young people are the experts on their own engagement.  AYO has the capacity to train and enable inner city youth to become ‘youth engagement’ facilitators. Will your government allow/support young people to become trained facilitators of youth engagement?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. would you support the articles of the UNDRIP in terms of working with the communities many PD residents come from?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Would you support the formation of an independent nation state for Aboriginal people within Canada?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Do you want more cops on the North End streets?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Do you believe that victims of childhood abuse can be rehabilitated?  
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Our 13-18 year olds are doing a lot of crime in our community.  The programs that these young people attend are not resourced to provide the type of care that they need. Will you increase funding to after school programs for:
    1. Aboriginal youth?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa

    1. Boys in the inner city?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa

    1. youth at risk of suicide
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Do you have Facebook? Can we be your friend?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa



Afterwards, we had a few questions from the floor.

  1. Politicians always play hardball. Will you guys start to work together, cooperatively instead of constantly fighting?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Do you think politicians and the party system are like gangs?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Would you be willing to change the current party system so it does not negatively influence gang behaviours?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Do you have any positive resources from the campaign talking about GOOD things in our neighborhood?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


  1. Will you be willing to work with one another even after the election, regardless of the outcome?
Kevin

Mary Lou

Teresa


More info coming tomorrow!

Thank you so much to all the candidates for coming out, and John for sending a rep to give his regrets in person.  Thank you for taking the time to listen to our youth, and GET REAL.

Don’t forget to check out North End votes TONIGHT at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre (45 Robinson)


Love and Respect

MC

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kookum’s Medicine Walk & Feasting Our Hand Drum


 
5th Annual Kookum’s Medicine Walk
Wednesday September 21st 2011 9am-12pm

The  5th annual Kookum Kaa Na Da Maa Waad Abinoojiiak Council “Grandmothers Protecting our Children Medicine Walk allows community members to join our grandmothers in ceremony, and support them in their roles as protectors of the children.  You can check out what happened last year, by clicking here! The day begins at 8pm at Thunderbird House for ceremony with the Kookums.  Next, we will march from Thunderbird House to the Legislative Grounds where we will hear words from our Grandmothers and our youth. Find below an excerpt from the Kookums:

It is time  NOW. It does not matter  whether you come from a religious Faith based background  or not. Whether  you come from a Traditional background  or not .We are diverse Kookum/Elders from all our  Traditional and   Faith based  backgrounds, We come  together with one voice, one message  “The Love of our People” .

What you will need to bring  :
·     Prayer ties :You can have a circle with staff , clients and families and make prayer ties together for those we have lost .
·    Bring prayer ties to ceremony at Thunderbird House 8am[outside at ceremonial grounds]. Grandmothers will be there to receive you with Love and Guide you through Ceremony .
·        A light Breakfast will be inside Thunderbird House at aprox. 9am
·     Medicine Walk will start at 10 am and proceed to the Legislative Building where the Grandmothers Council and 4 of our  Youth will deliver their words of Wisdom to all  Peoples and invited Political guests  . 



Feasting Our Hand Drums (part 2)
Thursday September 22nd 2011 (6pm-9pm)

Many young people receive drums as gifts, make drums, or have a need to feast their hand drum. To that end, we would like to provide, this 2nd annual opportunity for our youth to learn from elders the importance of the drum. This event is a partnership between AYO! Healing Still Continues and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs – Youth Secretariat.  It is an opportunity for young people to come together, learn from our elders and feast their hand drum. It is free to attend, but youth are asked to bring tobacco for elders, and of course, their hand drum.

PS – its also ok to come down if youth want to learn about what’s shaking. Sharing is caring.

MC

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Walk in Honour of Clarky Stevenson


Our young people need to know they are valuable – Kale Bonham
 

So, an 18 year old boy has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder in the 30th homicide of the year for Winnipeg.  That is very much frightening to me, because it shows you the state of our youth. THEYARE SCREAMING FOR HELP! I don’t know how to get this message out to our politicians, to our lawmakers, that our young people need to feel heard, validated.  They need to feel a sense of belonging somehow, and we as a community must come together quickly.


Friday September 15th at 5pm, family, friends and the community will come together at College and Aikins at 5pm. This is the Walk in Honour of Clarky Stevenson.  It has been organized by his friends Kayla (13), Grace (14) and Tonisha(15).  These amazing young people have organized this march in honour of a fallen loved one.  People came together, to get them t shirts, to make banners.  I am hoping more people show up to physically show their support not only to these girls, and to Clarky, but to show that YOU BELIEVE THE VIOLENCE MUST STOP! Our young people are killing one another for what?! To represent a colour? To be a part of some semblance of a family? YOU(th) ARE SO VALUABLE. No community, or family should ever have to deal with the loss of someone so young and so violently.

So Proud

I also want to say I am so proud of these girls. So young, and showing such community leadership.  We must support these young people because they will be the leaders to finally address our communities needs.

Be strong folks. See you Friday at 5.

MC

Monday, September 12, 2011

Under the Influence: Politicians & Gangs


Under the Influence:
Politicians & Gangs (Sept 12/11)

Under the Influence: UTI explores the relationships between various elements, musical, personal, spiritual, implied, literal, sampled, political or any other random influence that is observed.  ‘Nothing about me is original; I am the combined sum of everyone I have ever known’ - MC T-Shirt

In my community, we have a gang problem. Come to think of it, in many communities across Manitoba, and indeed Canada and Turtle Island…we have a gang problem. And let’s face it; people are afraid. They are afraid that our young people are choosing to involve themselves in these illegal activities and dangerous associations. They are afraid that these groups will continue to recruit our communities’ children, and are afraid of the violence that inevitably arises from having multiple gangs located within the same geographical area. The people are afraid and they should be. There is little hope for this situation to improve by ineffective government policies alone. The problem is THE EXAMPLE that is being set in government that causes our young people to see no other option than to join a gang to feel heard, but also, to lose faith in the current system of governing our communities.

Politicians



First, lets take a look at the example that is being set for our youth, by our politicians, specifically … THE PARTY SYSTEM. Canada is governed by a series of parties, each one with a differing perspective on how best to operate, regulate and maintain order in Canada.
  • They each have colours
  • They each fight over control of patches of land.
  • They engage in word-bashing behaviour to their opponents.
  • Their priorities appear to be self serving instead of community serving
  • They each have valid perspectives to be heard* (future blog post coming)
I believe that this example that Canadian Society has set, since the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 is the reason why today, in 2011, we have such a gang/youth/crime challenges in so many of our communities. Our governments often present themselves and communicate in such a way that makes me believe they care more about being in power and having the most coloured chairs at the end of the race than it is about providing solutions and services to their electorate. This ‘me first’ attitude is causing damage to the youth of our nation. They see it as acceptable to push their own agendas, because that is the example that has been set. They see it as acceptable to engage in violence and coercion, because that’s the example that’s been set.

Gangs



Let’s take a minute and look at Gangs, and speculate about some of the reasons why they do exist. Gangs begin to pop up when young people need a place of safety and don’t have it at home. Many of the communities that have gangs are low income, with a multitude of other challenges.  In the North End of Winnipeg (and all of Manitoba for that matter), we have a high Aboriginal population that comes with an additional set of challenges that must be examined honestly, and approached respectfully.  In fact, in Manitoba, by 2020, over 40% of the elementary aged students will be Aboriginal. So the youth I work with every day face the following realities
  • Low income homes
  • Challenged family circumstances
  • Dealing with inter-generational effects of residential school/colonization
  • Not feeling safe in their own neighbourhood
  • Lack of recreational opportunities
  • Lack of self esteem building opportunities
  • Lack of cultural identity
For all those reasons and more, our young people need help. They need the support and the love from the adults in their lives, the communities they live in and the governments that regulate the conditions. How do governments expect young people to behave considering the example that has been set by the politicians themselves?! When we look at root causes, lets start taking a look at the example we ourselves are setting for the people we are trying to help, work with, or influence.

I work for my community

In the last few days PC and NDP have both released announcements and advertisements that talk about safety/crime/gangs. There are some good ideas and some not so good ones, but the point is both parties can agree that this is a challenge that must be addressed.  For our current government: why are you wasting time on attack ads, instead of telling us how we can build on past lessons and move forward, together?! For opponents of the current government; why are you proposing that we throw away some initiatives that could potentially give value to communities that could be built upon?  I am ashamed of the state of current politics and have yet to endorse any political party. Why? Because to me, I work for my community and I refuse to start trying to rep some party flag, as a priority over the people that I love in my own community. I believe that we should do away with this party system in Canada and replace it with one where the candidates are accountable to the people that elect them, instead of loyal to the party (or gang) that they represent.

And so, instead of acting self serving, I would advise the candidates for government to endeavour to reach out, connect with and engage with its electorate.  Ask the young people what they need. Be flexible and cooperative in your approaches. And remember, this isn’t a one-sided thing here, we the people will choose to put someone into office, and if we do not feel represented, we the people will remove them from office. Why?

OUR COMMUNITY DESERVES BETTER


I mean it.

MC

North End MC

My photo
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Representin the North End of Winnipeg since 1987. I will share my journey tryna set an example and live a proud Cree life. I'll include my challenges and feelings and progress in terms of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. You(th) are the reason.

Tetris