When we are young, we are figuring out who we are and our place in the world. What we experience during these formative years shapes our views about ourselves and others. Among other things, we are influenced by the beliefs of our family, our friends, and the environment around us, including an increasingly pervasive media landscape. Ultimately we determine our own path, but the story of our youth leaves an imprint we carry for a lifetime.
When I talk to young people today, I am often inspired by their naturally inclusive nature, their compassion for those in need, and their willingness to consider the views of others. I also know some young people struggle to be accepted for who they are. Whether it is about gender, sexual identity, race, economic status or other factors, their struggle is often silent and invisible. We must do better.
I recently received some handwritten human rights feedback from grade 12 students. One remarkable submission spoke about the student’s sexual orientation and the feeling of not being able to discuss it with their parents. To that student, and all young people in this position, I hear your voice and I stand with you. My hope is that the new B.C. Human Rights Commission can work to normalize these types of conversations and help young people navigate their way into adulthood, knowing they are exactly who they are meant to be.
How do you feel your views on human rights and discrimination compare to the way you were raised? What youth-centred issues do you think the new Human Rights Commission should focus on? And how do you think a Human Rights Commission should interact with youth?
– Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism & Sport