Today 8,000 students, educators and guests filled the Scotiabank Centre for a school day packed with inspiring words and passionate performances. They had worked so hard to earn their tickets to WE Day, and they couldn’t wait to celebrate together.
Our first class of the day was Economic Empowerment, and our teacher Robin Wiszowaty introduced us to the topic. She explained that ME to WE Artisans has empowered women in developing communities, who no longer need to rely on their husbands as a source of income. She welcomed Mama Helen to the stage to tell us more. Hellen told the crowd that because of ME to WE, “Now we are empowered. Now we have jobs. Now we have a future and a say in our communities.”
Next up was another empowered woman who many may have seen on the silver screen – Mia Farrow. “Ignore the naysayers, keep on questioning, keep on pushing for what is better, what is right, what is just!” Mia said, and encouraged youth in the audience to use their energy and attitudes to create change.
Spencer West, our teacher for Technological Empowerment class, introduced Dr. Dave Williams, a Canadian hero to the stage who has been a driving force in the advancement of research and technology. A physician, aquanaut and and astronaut, Dave talked about how when he was in space, he could see the pollution on Earth from above and he encouraged the audience to tackle environmental issues.
After a quick lunch break, Shawn Desman and Hannah Alper introduced themselves as our Social Empowerment teachers. This dynamic duo talked about the power of social change, and introduced a young speaker with an amazing story.
Twelve-year-old Parker Murchison is a cancer survivor, and dreamed of speaking on the WE Day stage about his life. He told the audience how having cancer actually presented him with gifts. “The first gift cancer gave me was perspective,” he shared. “Living a great life is a choice!” His final words were almost drowned out as the entire audience gave him a standing ovation.
Our very own Craig Kielburger returned to the stage as our teacher for Educational Empowerment class, and he introduced a woman with an astonishing story. Journalist, author and activist Amanda Lindhout shared her harrowing story of being kidnapped and imprisoned in Somalia for over a year. During that period, she resolved to do something positive for the other people being oppressed in Somalia if she was ever freed.
“Power is not about guns and oppression,” she shared. “True power is what you carry inside of yourself and how you choose to respond to your circumstances.”
Throughout the day, WE Day Atlantic Canada also heard inspiring words from world-renowned musicians. The crowd of 8,000 was on their feet moving, shaking and singing along with Neverest, Kardinal Offishall, Karl Wolf, JRDN and Shawn Desman!
WE Day Atlantic Canada, we give all of you a standing ovation! We are so inspired by the service work you’ve done in your community and abroad, and we can’t wait to see how you’ll impact the world in the future.
WE Day is free of charge to the thousands of students and educators in attendance, thanks to the generous support of sponsors led by National Co-Title Sponsors RBC and TELUS. Learn more about WE Day Atlantic Canada.