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August 21, 2006
Six award winners lead way for Toronto’s youth
Yesterday, at The Cause, an event promoting youth involvement held at Yonge-Dundas Square, the Toronto Youth Cabinet and the City of Toronto presented Identify ‘n’ Impact Youth Awards to six individuals or organizations that have made a difference in the lives of youth across the city.

The Identify ‘n’ Impact Youth Awards celebrate the valuable contributions young people make to communities throughout Toronto, and the important role youth play as advocates, visionaries and agents of social change. The awards are open to youth aged 13 to 24 who live, work, play or study in the city of Toronto. Each award consisted of a cash award and a certificate.

Winner of the Amazing Young Activist award was No One Is Illegal, a youth-led organization that fights for the rights of all migrants to live with dignity and respect. The group works to oppose racist and colonialist immigration policies, as well as the international economic policies that create the conditions of poverty and war that force migration. This award is sponsored by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

Brian McCurdy received the Building Community through the Arts or Athletics award, for his work in creating the Cross Disabilities, Genders, Sexualities Working Group, one of the first queer disability groups in existence. Through the Queer Art Collective, Brian has also produced a documentary on “dumpster-diving,” to shed light on youth poverty issues. This award is sponsored by Toronto Economic Development, Culture and Tourism.

Supporting Our Youth (SOY), a youth-driven organization that works to improve the lives of queer youth in Toronto, received the Street Level Advocate award, sponsored by Toronto Shelter, Support and Housing Administration. SOY provides a safe, caring place where youth can be supported in meeting their immediate needs for food, clothing, housing and health care, and in working to meet their goals for the future.

Christine Luza won the Youth Equity award, for her work in the Aboriginal community. She co-founded and co-ordinated Toronto Native Youth, an organization dedicated to empowering urban Aboriginal youth and promoting healthy Aboriginal lifestyles. She has worked with youth, Indigenous, immigrant and refugee communities to make a difference in the political, social, cultural and spiritual arenas. This award is sponsored by the City of Toronto’s Diversity Management and Community Engagement Unit.

Grassroots Youth Collaborative received the Enabling Collective Action award, sponsored by Toronto Public Health. This organization encompasses many youth-led, youth-serving, for-youth-by-youth organizations that serve in the city of Toronto. It works directly with youth in many of the marginalized and racialized communities that have been listed as priority areas by the City’s Community Safety Plan.

Keisha Williams received the Dedication to Youth Advocacy award, sponsored by Bell Canada. Working with Black Queer Youth, a project of Supporting Our Youth, Keisha has worked tirelessly to increase the visibility of young people in the black and queer communities. Keisha’s work is unique and commendable, as she struggles to recognize the many intersections of oppression, not only sexual identities, but also race, class, gender and age.

Formed in 1998 by Toronto City Council, the Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC) is Toronto’s official youth advocacy organization, representing Toronto’s 300,000 youth at City Hall. It works with City Council and youth organizations to make sure that Toronto youth are engaged in their communities. As a youth-run organization, the TYC provides a critical gathering place for all young people interested in making a change.

The Identify ‘n’ Impact Youth Awards, along with celebrations like The Cause, are just two examples of the many steps the TYC is taking to engage young people across Toronto on key issues in a meaningful way.

Media contacts:

William Mendes
Toronto Youth Cabinet

Niya Chari
Toronto Youth Cabinet

Natricia Drummond
Toronto Youth Cabinet



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