RMYC – Youth Need a Voice on City Council

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Reginal Multicultural Youth Centre
Reginal Multicultural Youth Centre

THUNDER BAY – LETTERS – The Regional Multicultural Youth Council (RMYC) is urging Thunder Bay residents to carefully review the platforms of candidates running in the 2022 Municipal Election. We are imploring those who can vote to choose those committed to investing in children and youth since we are this community’s most valuable human resource for the future.

Thunder Bay City Council adopted a Children’s Charter on June 14, 2004 to ensure that the beliefs and values enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of children are maintained at the municipal level.  A comprehensive report in this regard was prepared by the last Child Advocate, Councilor Frank Pullia and presented to City Council on December 18, 2018. It highlighted social issues affecting children and youth in our community and the need for a coordinated approach to prevent vulnerable kids falling through the cracks and becoming juvenile delinquents who end up as troubled adults and dysfunctional parents contributing to an ever-growing and more costly social burden.

During consultations with Councillor Pullia, the RMYC recommended that City Hall should play a lead role in advancing Thunder Bay’s Children’s Charter and its values.  We wanted the Thunder Bay Children’s Coalition revived to provide a collective strategic approach to enhance the wellness, safety and achievement of children and youth. In addition, the City should make it easier for youth-led groups (such as the RMYC, clubs such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Underground Gym and other grassroots organizations working to improve the lives of children) to access financial resources for proactive programs, prevention services, and initiatives that engage and empower youths to make a difference for a better Thunder Bay..

The outgoing City Council left the Thunder Bay Children’s Advocate position vacant in 2019 after taking office, and did not fill it in spite of our persistent requests to do so.

News reports and talk on the streets confirm that things are getting worse across the city. We desire change and should be included as part of the solution.

Youth need a voice on Council to advocate on their behalf, monitor the 7 Youth Inquest recommendations, and work with the community to implement the Thunder Bay Children’s Charter.

Given the many social problems adversely affecting the quality of life in our community, a Child Advocate on Council can mobilize various entities in the city to work together with a shared vision of breaking negative cycles such as addiction, crime, violence, poverty and so forth. Investing adequate resources up-stream will stop bigger and more damaging problems from getting downstream. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!

Children and youth do not have a vote, but we have a voice. So, we are speaking up and urging citizens who care enough for our generation to choose candidates who believe in the Thunder Bay Children’s Charter and will support the reinstatement of a Child Advocate on City Council with proper funding to improve the lives of all children, especially vulnerable kids and at-risk youth.  It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Danika-Lee Banning, Aleksia Dromisky-Perron. Tisha Duncan, Zoya Rehman, Winner McGuire, Eternity Neekan, Joshua Okokpujie, Alexa Sagutcheway and Atlas Waite

RMYC Executive Officers, Multicultural Youth Centre, Thunder Bay.