The discussion surrounding the possible Powell River name change in our community has increased our awareness of community members’ outdated values and beliefs. These values and beliefs grounded in racism, imperial and colonial violence and supremacy have not sat well within our community of youth. The knowledge of people’s adamant and loud disapproval of the possible name change has made us question our belief that our community is indeed welcoming and inclusive.
We are disgusted, disheartened and hopeless in regard to our town considering a referendum. It is a slap in the face for anyone who believes in democracy due to the voting requirements excluding and erasing so many important voices who would be affected by this change. This includes many youth who are the future leaders, change makers and workers of this city. Without including youth perspective and allowing youth agency in this decision, the city risks alienating the youth community.
We are unsure how to be proud of a city with a name that represents the violent and racist architect of residential school. It is embarrassing.
Where is everyone who supported the first Truth and Reconciliation Day? Where is everyone who wore orange and spoke out against the first 215 children found? It is upsetting that Tla’amin Nation had to ask for this and now to have the response become a public mark for attack.
We believe the name change represents an opportunity for the future. It would be a huge honour to be provided and gifted a new name and opportunity to foster better, more inclusive relations.
We are a subgroup of the community action team, which is a provincial network of local teams addressing the toxic illicit drug supply and overdose deaths and harms. We are an action oriented and community-based team of youth and service providers with a shared goal of increased positive social, economic, physical and mental health outcomes during a dual public health crisis. We are for youth and by youth. We operate under the principles of harm reduction and the assumptions of social determinants of health in our advocacy.
~ Youth Community Action Team