People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.
— Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

The Brampton Multicultural Youth Council (BMYC) is a youth-run organization striving to empower and educate youth so that they might be better equipped to face the real world and its challenges. As a council, we recognize that although humans should all be equal, we each experience struggles that are unique to our personal and cultural identities.  Due to this, we each experience oppression differently because of the privileges we may or may not have. We hope to help youth better navigate issues related to culture, oppression, racism, and identity in a context that is actually relevant to who they are and their everyday lives.


Issues

Although Brampton is aware of its cultural diversity, the community does not appreciate the oppression others face everyday. People from different cultures accept each other, but often do not take an initiative to gain a further understanding of other cultures and traditions. Therefore, BMYC strives to address several issues in order to promote this understanding.

Most of today’s youth are becoming increasingly ignorant of their own cultures. However, they need to appreciate the rich histories of their own culture in order to see the diverse perspectives, preserve their culture, and to better understand themselves.

The cultural gap between grandparents, parents and grandchildren is often the cause of family issues. Most youth are second generation immigrants, born and raised in Canada. The knowledge of their culture comes from their parents. BMYC intends to take that knowledge and motivate youth to discover more about their customs, their history, and their heritage! The council wants to use this motivation, so today’s youth will break down the communication and cultural barriers between themselves and the older generations.  

BMYC also aspires to reveal more than one side of the story. Often times, people are only presented with one perception of certain regions around the world. For example, Africa is shown as a country stricken with poverty; however, this is the only side people see. The continent of Africa is filled with beauty, inspiring stories, and hard working people striving to make a difference in their lives. As a council, BMYC believes that it is important to acknowledge and showcase different perspectives of one culture.


History:  

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The ignorance of the oppressed is strength for the oppressor.
— A.R. Bernard

Brampton Multicultural Youth Council was a branch of the Toronto Multicultural Youth Council, established in July 2012. It was initiated by Abeera Shahid, a Canadian immigrant who is passionate about learning from other cultures. The council, started by one person, grew into a team of 23 students in a few short months.

BMYC made its debut with their “Hidden Cultures” project. The event was a series of four workshops spanning across two consecutive weekends. Its goal was to showcase hidden art forms of different cultures from around the globe. The project was funded by the Youth in Action Grant provided by United Way of Peel Region. With interactive activities and amazing guest speakers, Hidden Cultures was BMYC’s first success. BMYC hopes to continue undertaking projects that involve the community and empower youth to become immersed in different cultures.  Visit our "Events" page to find out what the council has been up to since then!


Partners

BMYC would like to thank the ECLYPSE Youth Centre in Brampton for providing a meeting room for the council to run its day-to-day operations. ECLYPSE Youth Center supports the theme of Anti-Violence through the various weekly programs held at their centre. They provide youth with a safe place to express themselves and BMYC appreciates their support.  We would also like to thank our sponsoring organization, Rapport Youth & Family services for supporting and helping BMYC with its initiatives.