Katimavik joins national dialogue on racism
June 5, 2020 – As Americans hold memorial services for George Floyd, all of us around the globe are called upon to remember, recognize, and confront our own forms of prejudice and racism.
In this consequential moment of our time, as a Canadian national youth empowerment organization, Katimavik stands in solidarity with all who have been, and all who continue to be, victimized by racist actions perpetrated by either individuals, institutions, or our law enforcement agencies.
In Canada, we recognize that we also have much work left to do to eliminate racism and eradicate racist practices within our institutions. As a society, we understand that the ﬁrst step is to recognize, own, and call out all racist practices. Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides the legal framework to protect all Canadians against inequality. But the Canadian Constitution alone cannot create a Just Society. As individuals, we must choose to end racism through intentional action and determination.
Katimavik is proud of Canada’s youth in particular as they peacefully participate in demonstrations to demand both justice for victims of racism and to eliminate this racism in all forms.
Sadly, to name just a few, people of colour, people from Indigenous Nations, and members of the LGBTQ2 community continue to face racism and prejudice on a daily basis. This must end. And all of us are called upon to ensure it does. We have eradicated many other intolerable practices in our history before and we can do so again. It is not enough simply to avoid non-racist behaviour through intentional action, we must ensure that our society is in fact anti-racist and adopts a zero-tolerance standard for any and all forms of racist action.
Since its inception in 1977, Katimavik has been an organization focused on advancing the values of tolerance, understanding, and respect. Through volunteerism, Katimavik’s participants emerge from our programs having learned how these values can positively impact our communities across the country. These values are imperative in order to create a world free of intolerance.
For over forty years, Katimavik has engaged in programming that seeks to build bridges of understanding as we welcome and celebrate our diversity. Our organization is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Katimavik’s programs empower Canada’s youth to become activist citizens in order to create and build a society that embodies and champions these values. We acknowledge that none of us is perfect and we can only accomplish these goals together through action and deeds, not simply words. Therefore, today we join with all Canadians and commit to continue to do our part to end all forms of racism and to eradicate racist practices from all our institutions.
Katimavik oﬀers young adults opportunities to gain life skills and work experience while contributing to community development through volunteerism. The word ‘Katimavik’ originates from the Inuktitut language, meaning ‘meeting place’. Since 1977, Katimavik has brought young Canadians together to learn, to exchange culture and language, and to help build stronger communities across Canada. Katimavik aims to help youth become engaged, caring citizens and capable contributors and leaders for a better Canada. We do this through the development of 21st-century skills, experiential learning, and civic engagement.