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Opinion: Squamish youth standing for youth

'If we can work together to overcome the borders between us, then the juveniles who will be the leaders of the future can build a more just world for everyone.'
Local teen Kiana Alai argues that youth in privileged communities like Squamish have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with youth-led protests around the world, like the recent protests in Iran.

The world can seem disconnected sometimes.

Developing countries can feel a whole world away from us in Squamish, making it important for young people here to stand with the juvenile-led protests in developing nations.

There are different ways that these teens in underdeveloped countries can be helped. One of the most important ways is for us to simply spread awareness of the crises in these countries. This could be done through protests, online sharing, and word of mouth.

Recently, I helped organize a fundraiser to support the protests in Iran that called for individual freedom through the Social Justice Club at Howe Sound Secondary School.

We organized a hot chocolate by donation event, which included informative pamphlets. We held a bake sale the week after to inform the school about the human rights crisis in Iran and to support the Iranian citizens getting unfairly prosecuted or detained by the morality police for exercising their human rights. Targeted groups included women, LGBTQ+ members, and religious minorities.

Our Squamish club was able to make a large donation to the cause and spread awareness.

As teenagers living in a more privileged atmosphere, we are in some ways responsible for using our voices to advocate for the minors leading the protests in other countries.

Many young people are protesting for their rights already in Canada and the United States; an example of this would be the Women, Life, Freedom campaign for the citizens of Iran seeking political freedom and women’s rights that started spreading in 2022.

The protests in Iran were widely led by youth who took to the streets in search of a better future for, not just females but, all of the people in Iran.

The young people in countries like Canada have shown integrity by advocating for their protesting teenage counterparts in these emergent nations; this has been accomplished through social media campaigns, writing letters to their political representatives, rallies, and activism in general.

As long as the youth in these countries protesting for their human rights are not forgotten or ignored, and people in more privileged countries like Canada continue to use their voices to amplify others, then we can head towards helping these citizens see their countries change for the better.

If we can work together to overcome the borders between us, then the juveniles who will be the leaders of the future can build a more just world for everyone.

Kiana Alai is a local teen and member of the Squamish Youth Council.

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