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what does the Pivot 2020 program mean to us?

When we began hiring our 1,200 Canadians aged 18-29 across 27 cities who will be a part of the Pivot 2020 program, we started with our City Coordinators - and we were blown away by the individuals we had the pleasure to bring onboard. These young people are researchers; educators; non-profit creators; community organizers; and more. They are dedicated to bringing change to their local communities, and to making sure that pandemic recovery for young people is at the forefront of the intersectional research work that they will be leading.

So, for our first blog post, we thought we’d ask a couple of these City Coordinators, who are representing diverse sections of Canada, exactly “what Pivot 2020 means to them”, however that resonates. Read on to hear from three of them: Josh, City Coordinator for the Prairies; Rana, City Coordinator for British Columbia; and Amy, City Coordinator for the Maritimes.

Josh, City Coordinator for Lethbridge, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Regina

“I was working at a large, local not-for-profit connecting with people who were marginalized and facing issues of systemic discrimination, issues that were exacerbated by the inequitable outcomes of COVID-19. Before losing my job to COVID cuts & restructuring, I saw how front-line workers - many of whom were young professionals - and who had the closest connections with Community Members, and thus, the best understanding of community needs, were ignored and sidelined when explicitly trying to have Community Member voices and needs heard, addressed, and incorporated into solutions to novel and unprecedented challenges.

After experiencing this systemic organizational failure, I reflected on the lack of agency for front-line workers, a lack of agency that has been purposefully created by decision-makers and people in power. Youth perspectives, voices, and reflections can provide meaningful solutions to the interconnected challenges being faced today, however, youth must also have the tools and social license to have their voices heard and to be able to enact change from the grassroots level in a top-heavy system.

My hope is that Pivot can offer this -- that we can provide concrete data and resources that organizations, government, businesses, and decision-makers will use to validate and incorporate youth voices, needs, and opinions into a more just and equitable post-COVID society.” -Josh

Rana, City Coordinator for Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna

“For me, PIVOT 2020 means connecting with open and curious youth who are committed to fostering inclusive environments. My city of North Vancouver is an incredibly diverse place, yet building an equitable and tolerant society is an ongoing and long-term process. My hope is for PIVOT to bring resiliency, tolerance, and understanding of what cities need to thrive.

Specifically, I am interested in researching just how widespread the effects of gentrification have affected affordability for youth in the place that they live. I am also so excited to learn about others' lived experiences -- especially people from the East Coast, as the specifics of their lived experience is not something I know much about." -Rana

Amy, City Coordinator for St. John’s, Charlottetown, Halifax, Moncton, and Fredericton

“When I first saw Pivot 2020 come across my computer screen, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I am a big believer in the power of storytelling and the importance of young people's thoughts, experiences and dreams in shaping our communities for the better. I'm currently living in Kjipuktuk, Mi'kma'ki (Halifax). While each of the cities in the Atlantic region have common connections, each place is so unique-- with different contexts, challenges, assets, and possibilities.

My hope is that this project will support young people who know their cities and contexts best to hear, share and reflect back stories to our greater communities that meaningfully shine a light on young peoples' experiences in cities in the Atlantic region. I also hope we can collectively build Pivot 2020 together, in a way that can contribute respectfully, meaningfully, and in solidarity with youth at the front-lines of resisting injustice in our cities and who have been sharing their lived experiences and stories for so long-- Indigenous, Black, racialized, newcomer, 2SLGBTQIA+ young people and youth with disabilities. I hope Pivot 2020 can be one important, deep and dynamic piece of the bigger work of making our cities and communities more vibrant, safe, just places for all.” -Amy


For more information about the work that the 1,200 young people at Pivot 2020 will be doing this fall, check back often for updates and features on our blog, and follow us on social media @pivot_canada (Twitter) / @pivotcanada (Instagram) / Pivot Canada (Facebook). #pivot2020

This program is led by Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Youthful Cities and the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity, and funded by the Government of Canada.

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