First Youth Forum For Asian Representation: Co-Chair Lauren, Head Girl 

One of the unfortunate outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been the dramatic rise in Anti-Asian Hate crimes throughout the world. In response to these acts of Anti-Asian hatred and discrimination, a group of ambitious high school and university students banded together to organize a meaningful forum to motivate Canadian youth to find their voice and actively participate in our democracy. Their inspiration has resulted in the birth of the Youth Forum For Asian Representation. 

I was fortunate to serve as the Co-Chair of this event alongside several of my peers on the Executive Committee of the Youth Forum For Asian Representation. 

The purpose of the Youth Forum was for young Canadians to learn from leaders of our community, listen to what our peers are doing, and be part of positive change. The theme, “Representation Takes action” was chosen to communicate to fellow youth that we are the generation that needs to step-up. 

The forum, held virtually on May 29,  2021, was immensely successful in securing an impressive panel of speakers from the Vancouver business community such as Dr. Brandt Louie, Hon. Bowinn Ma, Hon. Bardish Chagger, Carol Lee, Ken Sim, Mi-Jung Lee, Jenny Kwan, Michael Lee, and more. With over 1000 attendees across Canada, the forum reached a wide and diverse audience, inspiring all to take action. Over the course of the day, panellists engaged in discussion on how young people can leverage their voice, navigating culture barriers in positions of influence, and staying connected to one’s heritage. 

The fight against prejudice and racism is a long journey and we intend to continue this conversation moving forward in partnership with all of our supporters through the YouthTalkNation platform

If you are a young Canadian with a passion for social change, the Youth Forum encourages you to join the mission this summer as we strive to create a youth-led report on racism and discrimination within our schools. As many cases of hate crimes and microaggressions are left unreported, we believe it is important for us to have accurate data to reflect the situation in our communities. 

The Youth Forum For Asian Representation was just the first of many necessary steps in the process towards a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse future. This journey does not end here. Our team at the Youth Forum, along with members from the YouthTalkNation will be working together in the near future to carry this momentum forward whether it be through another forum or another means; we will continue to inspire and motivate others to take action. 

For those who were not able to attend the live forum, we have made a concise version of the event that captures the key messages and dialogue. We also created a “Call To Action” Video that is attached below. Please see the two videos for more. 

Head Girl, Class of 2021

Q & A with Head Girl Saskia

What is your favourite memory of York House School?
My favourite memory at York House is probably all the times I spent in the bus on the way to field hockey games. All the girls would be so excited for the upcoming match that the bus would just be filled with singing and laughing the whole way there.

Why did you want to be Head Girl?
I wanted to be Head Girl because I knew there were things in the school I wanted to change which would lead to a better, more open community. As well, I felt from a personal standpoint the position would help me grow as a leader and expand my public speaking abilities.

Blazer Exchange Assembly

What did you learn from being Head Girl?
I learnt a lot! One of the biggest learning experiences was simply about mediation. With twelve extremely passionate and intelligent girls in our exec it was not a surprise that we often had differing ideas. Understanding when to speak up but also when to listen to what others have to say and supporting them was a big skill everyone on the exec was able to adopt.

What are some of the accomplishments of the Student Exec this year that you are most proud of?
We were able to implement another week of spirit activities in the school year which was really beneficial in achieving our goal of a more connected, vibrant community. We had far more random activities that included the entire senior school during recesses and lunches, which led to a high student involvement. As well, we had amazing videos! Which I believe the entire school enjoyed.

Student Executive 2017-18

What words of advice do you have for the incoming Head Girl?
Good luck 🙂 This is a big responsibility that is not always a breeze, but this position gives you the opportunity to make a real change. Always remember that YOU were the one voted in, which means you should trust your decisions and instincts. Listen to others for advice and ideas, but ultimately you are the Head Girl and as long as you have the right intentions you can’t go wrong.

As your time at York House comes to an end, what are you looking forward to the most?
I am so excited to venture off into the unknown. York House has always been a source of stability for me, but now my whole future is up in the air. It is a very strange and unusual feeling, but one of excitement and chance.

What are your plans for the fall?
I will be going to the University of Edinburgh to study Anthropology and Political Science.

Read the Q&A with Vice-Head Annabelle