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Our youth are making a difference; let’s give them the respect they deserve

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May 1 to 7 is National Youth Week, a time to celebrate the important role young people play in our communities, countries, and the world.

As technology makes the world smaller, young people are having their voices heard in new and interesting ways. As leaders in their own right, they’re active in protecting both human rights and the rights of workers. 

They are contributors, leaders, creators, and game-changers; and they are OPSEU members, too! OPSEU’s Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) is made up of some of the most engaged activists we know, and we value their input and expertise. They are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today.

There are many great examples of youth taking on local, national, and global issues and making the world a better place. Look at the leadership roles they are taking in changing the discussion on climate justice and its connection to Indigenous sovereignty and racial justice; in fighting for a fair living wage and in working to reduce the high cost of education and mounting student debt, which is connected to the larger issue of underemployment upon graduation. We thank all of them for their dedication and unique and valuable perspectives.

Unfortunately, amidst COVID-19, the numerous activities planned to celebrate youth week in Ontario and around the country have been put on hold due to social distancing directives. But we are still seeing young workers in action.  They are taking up important roles on the front lines and risking their lives every day. They work in healthcare, food services, maintenance and support, to just name a few.

So, while we may not be able to get out and celebrate with them this National Youth Week, we sure can appreciate and respect them in many other ways.  Thank the young leaders in your communities and take some time to acknowledge their accomplishments virtually and online. 

In Solidarity

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer