I recently had the privilege of hearing Juno nominated, Anishinaabeg musician Nimkii Osawamick perform. In his presentation he spoke about how it took him “years to find his voice”. I was absolutely moved listening to him and inspired to bear witness to his example of publicly reclaiming and rejoicing in the resurgence of his culture. There is a strength that comes in knowing who you are and singing that truth into the Universe. I was inspired by Nimkii’s strength and encourage you to check out his work at https://dnastage.ca/
It is that same strength that I saw on display the night of Revolution Now’s launch party on April 23rd. At that party, the art of several Indigenous artists, including Ojibwe artist Donna Mugford and Wikwemikong artist Keith Gattie, were auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to Gwekwaadziwin Miikan Youth Mental Health & Addiction Program on Manitoulin Island. It was especially moving for these two local artists to be able to create items for auction, a Pride themed ribbon skirt and a painted drum, that were previously banned in Canada under the Potlatch Law until 1951. On the night of the launch party, those artists, both of whom descend from Manitoulin Island, were beaming to be able to give back over $2200 to their own Indigenous community. That same night, Tricia Wright of Urban Promise Toronto accepted a $1400 donation, generated from the event’s ticket sales, for after school care for children in Toronto Community Housing. These moments are what Revolution Now is about. They are living, breathing moments where people we love shine with the same strength that Nimkii showed and are absolutely celebrated for standing strong in who they are.
In these moments, it fills the hearts and souls of everyone who chooses to share in the Revolution. It is inspiring to see people rise and rise together. This month I was fortunate to be interviewed by Toronto broadcasting legend, Kevin Frankish and he asked me, “what makes you so positive?”. My response was lengthy but it was all about how powerful it is to see people use their lives and experiences to pave an easier path for those who follow. It is particularly motivating to see how young people are gravitating towards Revolution Now and how they are working to advocate for each other.
We had two such amazing experiences happen this month. Firstly, I am proud to announce that Rio Bailey, a 2SLGBTQ+ youth artist, will be joining the Revolution Now team in June of 2022. Rio has designed buttons that we will have ready for sale during the Toronto Pride Festival. Stay tuned for more information on how you can get yours!! Also, we have had the great fortune of having our postcard initiative being selected as a school-wide project at several local schools. Student leadership teams are working hard to generate more money for programming at Gwekwaadziwin Miikan Youth Mental Health & Addiction Program and to have their student populations write cards to newly arrived refugee children through the Welcome To Canada Project.
It is heartwarming to see the passion, community and immediacy of results that are being produced by all of the Revolutionaries!! I am inspired by the lives you lead, by the stories you bravely share and by the actions we are taking together for each other. Thank you to everyone who has been so enthusiastic in joining the Revolution. A special thank you to Market Brewing Company for the gracious donation of your space for our launch event. It is powerful to feel what we are doing as a community and we look forward to all that comes next!!
Let’s Go Change The World,