|The youth attendees were inspired by the motivational panel of speakers and performers. Frishta Bastan shared her experiences growing up as an Afghan-Canadian, and despite being surrounded by wonderful parents and relatives, she needed a mentor badly. She needed someone her age that can relate to her experiences. Frishta shared a powerful spoken word piece that served as advice to anyone who has felt that their name was taken away from them, or had to change their name and cultural identity in order to conform into society. Program Manager at the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre, Janani Athithan, gave a talk about being surrounded by gang violence at her high school, losing peers, and struggling in her education as a result of these issues. She recognized the importance of mentorship, an opportunity that helped her overcome barriers to reach her goals.|
Biomedical engineer and comedian, Salma Hindy, shared her light-hearted anecdotes on the struggles and triumphs of having a blended identity, balancing her Middle Eastern and Canadian cultural nuances, feminism, and overcoming Islamophobia. Chukky Gerald Ibe, McMaster Student Union President, is a member of Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP), and a recipient of the John C Holland Award for youth achievement. Chukky’s passion and unique artistic expression through spoken wor
d captivated the crowd. His message was loud and clear, “there is only one person more important than you today, and that is the person you are going to be tomorrow.”
Influencer Mohamed Zeyara gave a heartfelt talk on his journey through his teen years. He shared personal stories, struggles, and fears that many youth experience as they strive to understand who they are, and what they want to do with their lives. Zeyara focused on the importance of surrounding yourself with people who help you become the best you can be.