Feasting and fostering community among racialized groups

Feature image by Dan Gold

YLAC CommUNITY Youth Feast: One Tribe. One People.

Written by ILANA REIMER

United over free food and entertainment, a group of young people from different ethnic backgrounds gathered together at the YMCA-YWCA this past weekend for a night of laughter, dancing and shared stories.

The main focus was unity: sharing cultures amongst other cultures. It was also a safe, fun way for youth to spend their Saturday night. YLAC partnered with the YMCA-YWCA and others to organize the CommUNITY Youth Feast on Oct. 14, an evening celebrating unity within racial groups.

The event drew about 80 participants, with approximately 60 kids involved in the activities. It began with series of cultural activities that set the tone for the rest of the night. The kids raced to complete tasks at different stations before the time ran out. With each completed activity, they earned a stamp in their “passport,” equalling a ticket in a draw. The eight stations had the kids singing their national anthem or wearing something from their culture; other activities included Caribbean dominos, Somali catchphrases, an Inuit high kick game and Chinese chess.

The evening also included a free meal and entertainment, with a wide range of performers. Different groups told stories or shared about their cultures. Cody Coyote, an Indigenous Hip-Hop/expiremental recording artist and songwriter, talked about how suicide has deeply affected Indigenous communities. He also shared his own story of surviving an attempted suicide.

Other performers like Arabeske, a Syrian Dabke group, took to the stage simply to celebrate their culture. Arabeske drew the crowd up on their feet, and everyone started dancing.
“It was everybody,” said the Director of Communication. “It didn’t matter what culture you were from, you just kind of joined the circle and started dancing too.”

The CommUNITY Youth Feast was hosted by the YMCA-YWCA, in partnership with the following organizations: Catholic Centre for Immigration, Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, Refugee 613, Tungasuvvivngat Inuit (TI Youth) and YLAC.

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