Celebrating International Youth Day
By Sergio Martinez – mtltimes.ca
The Ville Marie Borough with the collaboration of local youth and community organizations in the downtown area celebrated International Youth Day this past Sunday, August 16. Although the official date is August 12 as instituted by the United Nation in 1999, the borough thought that having the actual celebration on a Sunday would attract more people and the event would have more impact. In fact a good number of people converged on the recently renovated Cabot Square, the site chosen for the festivities, and the crowd could have been larger if the heat hadn’t discouraged many people from venturing outside that day. Still, those attending the celebration that took place between 1 and 5 p.m. had the chance of listening to a few bands on the stage installed in the eastern side of the square, watching some art exhibitions and being informed about the various youth and community activities in the downtown area.
This year’s theme for International Youth Day was Youth Civic Engagement. According to the U.N., “Youth Civic Engagement, a main goal of the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP), seeks to promote young people’s effective inclusive civic engagement at all levels.”
The festivities at Cabot Square were in that spirit defined by the U.N., subjects such as care for the environment and participation in the community were especially highlighted throughout the activities held during that day. Even some of the music reminded the audience of some of the important topics that must concern young people today: care for the environment, poverty, the destructive role of big corporations and other problems facing our world.
To remark the social engagement theme of the event one just had to look at the banner installed on the stage: playing with the French word “oxygène,” the banner on the stage read “Oxy-jeune” the name of a local community organization concerned with environmental issues.
The day was too hot, but the spirit of the participants in this event was certainly a refreshing element that should be translated into greater youth participation in the community, less apathy and more civic engagement as the U.N. had proposed for this year’s event.