Youth, Spirituality and Social Change

 This ONSP discussion differed slightly from the usual conversation at Faith House. This discussion was hosted by 25one community as well as was held in partnership with Couchiching Conversations. The event also featured the slam poetry of artist Anoshia Quadri.

The topic for the evening’s discussion was The Spirit of Social Change. For this special event, we invited two facilitators who have been involved in social change and development so they could donate their input into the discussion. One of the facilitators, Gabrielle Fayant, comes from an indigenous background and had worked with the Odawa Native Friendship Center. Out other facilitator, Sana Khalil came to the discussion from her background with Muslims for Progressive Values.

As a movement to open the discussion, Gabrielle introduced the eagle feather she was given and it was used to denote that whoever was holding it was speaking from the heart. She spoke about how the eagle is the highest soaring bird and therefore is seen as the closed bird to the Creator. An eagle feather is seen as a message from Creator.

As the discussion opened, many members of the discussion spoke about the different social change organizations they work with such as The Sexual Assault Support Center of Ottawa and a creative dance company in Ottawa. Working with these companies, it has been difficult to place the spirituality aspect but it is clear that it is present. Social change and spirituality are not one in the same, but work cooperatively and intertwine. On the note of dance, Gabrielle brings up the idea of pow wows. She said that being in round dances involves being in good spirit with people of similar faith and that is how she is able to incorporate spirituality into dance.

Another individual brought up the idea that in such a big world, individual people can feel very small. Among the years where technology is thriving faster than ever, the idea of being too small to make a difference is beginning to change. With the use of technology, one can be a part oF spaces where they would not previously be able to. Technology is in a way adding a layer to spirituality and acting as a catalyst of social change. For example, spaces and discussions such as ones hosted by ONSP were not happening twenty years ago.

The group setting is found to be very powerful. People (especially seen in the youth) are coming together in similar interest to make a healthier future. Knowledge is power, and when we learn about the kinks in the system, a big change becomes much clearer.

Social change seems to be inevitable with the direction society seems to be moving. Through the use of technology the spirit of youth is driving society toward a big change.

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