This week, with mixed emotions, we are getting ready to say goodbye to long-term Project Respect (PR) alumni Eunice, as they make moves to Montréal. Eunice’s role has evolved over the years from participant, to volunteer, to summer staff. Eunice has contributed so much to our Centre and community through being a part of the Rhizome Social Action Team, Hollaback Victoria!, the Trans Inclusion Advisory Committee, as well as a workshop facilitator for teachers and youth service providers. We look forward to seeing how the rhizome shoots that Eunice helped nurture will grow in their absence!
To kick off the summer, Project Respect planned 3 events to engage youth within the community.
The first event was a poetry workshop for youth to share stories, build friendships, and create poetry based on the themes of identity and social justice. We had 3 hours to get to know each other, and hoped to come out of it with new ideas and insights on identity and social justice. The product of this poetry session was incredible! By the end a beautiful group poem was created full of emotion, passion, and strength. The group was also able to take home multiple free writes of their own to keep.
The Open Mic.
Our idea for the workshop was to follow up with an evening open mic so that everyone could have a space to showcase their poems and other talents. And so last Friday the folks at PR packed up their bags and headed over to the 24 Carrot Centre for an evening of music and poetry. We weren’t quite sure how the night would work out, but were pleasantly surprised by just how amazing the event was. Although many people had never met, an organic sense of community was created, and allowed for everyone to feel comfortable enough to share their personal stories and experiences. Performances ranged from poetry, funny stories, and music to dances and diary entries from long ago. All in all it was a wonderful evening full of vulnerability and community building, and we hope to host more events like this in the future!
The Open Mic was a wonderful way to gather in community and share in the hard work that Project Respect has been doing. It was a powerful example of how art can connect people and allow room for vulnerability and joy. Project Respect is excited to have many more opportunities to connect community and art this fall with the new Building Bridges to Justice Project.
A Final Goodbye.
Eunice leaves us this Friday to start an exciting journey in Montréal taking Gender and Sexuality Studies at Concordia’s Simone De Bouvoire Insititute. Eunice’s hard work and gleeful spirit will be missed around the office. Good luck Eunice!
Stay tuned for more information on Building Bridges to Justice coming this fall!