Today we celebrate National Child Day. We should all reflect on our own childhoods as reminders of how important it is to respect their dignity and intelligence; and their right to be a part of dinner-table, local, and global conversations. Children have the right to feel protected and secure, to play, to be curious, have opinions, and to learn.
We never lose those needs. But it is in childhood where we develop them. I applaud the efforts of our OPSEU members in education, child protection, youth justice, children’s mental health and treatment, and child care who work tirelessly to make sure our youth have the very best resources.
Our children have the right to be heard and, yes, to lead – often in places where adults have tried and failed. On National Child Day we celebrate the wisdom and leadership of children and youth in their unrelenting call for political leaders to listen.
Case and point: our climate.
How easily we forget just how in tune our children are and how their unbiased nature allows them to see through the fog of embarrassment or ridicule and ask questions that many are afraid to hear, never mind pose.
They have accepted the science from curriculums that adults insist they learn, and then watch in amazement when some of those SAME adults pool together to deny an outcome that doesn’t favour their idea of progress. But that doesn’t stop our youth. Day in and day out they continue to make us at OPSEU proud with their dedication to the cause.
Premier Doug Ford and his government IS trying to mute this conversation, by treating intelligent children with indifference. The Ford government has chosen to bury its head in the sand and turn its back on hope, and on the will of the majority of Ontarians who want climate action. Youth remind us that the struggle for a more just society has to begin with a reimagining a world where we take care of each other and OUR planet.
The government’s sustained cuts to the environment, child care, education, social services, and health are unconscionable at a time of unprecedented wealth. We hear YOUNG PEOPLE; they feel their future is on the line. Let’s stand with them and tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida