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Be the change!

By Anne Caprice Claros

Photos by Colby Spence for WE Day

I was always told, “The youth is the key to change.” I questioned it more often than I believed it. How are we supposed to change the world? How can I change the world? The idea of making a difference was daunting. It seemed impossible. I never thought a single person, let alone someone as young as I was, had what was necessary to truly make a difference. So I kept to myself, believing the world was not mine to change. Then, I was invited to We Day and realized I was wrong.

Five years ago, I stood at the forefront of change with over 15,000 students at the MTS Centre. It was then I realized, truly making an impact starts with every small thing I do. The same small thing multiplied by the thousands of students who shared my passion can deliver clean water to communities who are not fortunate enough to have access to it, can provide nutritional food, can send children to school and can help build homes. Knowing that what I do at school and in my community can make a difference even miles away, inspired me to get further involved.

I went home resonating with pride and hope because I knew this was the beginning of my journey – a journey to ensure that the world we live in is a just one. My throat no longer imprisoned my voice and my mind no longer anchored my inquiries. We Day gave me the confidence to question why things are the way they are, to look at the injustices in our local community and say, “We can change that.” Soon enough, I was talking to fellow students not only about mental health issues and homelessness here in Winnipeg; I was educating them on the unequal access to education worldwide and drawing their attention to women’s rights. It was my duty to inspire others now, the way I was inspired many years ago. My voice was louder because I knew there were thousands of youth in the city who believed in the same things I did, I was no longer speaking for solely myself — I was a medium for all the unheard voices.

We Day has been an annual event for myself since then, and on Friday, November 18, I went home beaming with hope just as I had the first time.

We Day Manitoba 2016 took place at the MTS Centre. Jully Black, Chloe Wilde, Tyrone Edwards and Tyler Shaw hosted the all-day event. The day was divided into four segments: information on the WE Movement (previously Free The Children), how to make a difference at school and at home, how to make a difference on a national level, and lastly, how to make a difference globally. It was a day of filled with fun and learning.

We Day has always been geared towards redefining what is possible – expanded upon by yearly We Day speaker Spencer West, who has accomplished the impossible himself. Throughout the day they had speakers who shared their experiences and proved that anyone can make a difference in this world. This year, the event focused more on how much girls can impact the world and how disabilities should never hinder your dreams.

Margaret Trudeau spoke of her battle with bi-polar disorder. She encouraged the youth to always ask for help when needed, to take good care of our bodies and to remember that with a healthy body and mind anything is possible. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister told us of his humble beginnings and emphasized the importance of education. Chris Hadfield, the very first Canadian astronaut to walk in space, reminded us that no dream is too big to achieve. Rick Hansen, a Canadian paralympian and activist, shared his story and proved to us that having a disability is not about what you cannot do but what you can do. Other speakers included: Mike Downie, Kyle Nobess, Hani Al Moulia, and Capri Everit.

Craig and Marc Kielburger, the two brothers who started it all, once again relayed how this movement first began. It is fascinating how a drive for change that began with 12 students has grown into a massive and undeniably life changing global movement. Their passion for change has inspired millions and has touched the lives of many for the better.

WE Movement’s momentum will keep growing. This is only the beginning. Be part of the movement that will change the world we live in. Be part of the movement that will create a world where no one goes to bed hungry, where every child goes to school, where clean water runs from every tap and everyone has a place to call home. Be The Change!

For more information visit: https://www.we.org/we-movement.