What started off as an idea 3 weeks ago turned into a beautiful evening in Winnipeg’s North End. The idea of Indigenous people in the North End welcoming the new comer population was something that was sparked by me having coached the 13 year old MERC boys basketball team. This past winter I was fortunate enough to be able to coach a very diverse team. The team consisted of Indigenous, Filipino, White, and African youth, who before the season, hadn’t had enough opportunities to interact with each other.
The idea that we could bring the different cultures together through sport could also be used to bring together people in very much the same way that we do our community organizing. Now, I’m not going to lie, all week I was telling people that this would be the biggest bell tower event of the year. The turnout was amazing! Today was the craziest day of the week in terms of media duties. We started off the promotion with an interview with the Free Press yesterday, and today CBC radio, CBC news TV, Winnipeg Free Press, a radio interview with CJOB, and finally another CBC TV interview
I really truly feel that we can make changes in this city. Today made that very clear to me. It was beautiful to see close to 200 people from all races and various backgrounds to share our similar stories, songs, food, and prizes. The idea that we can get people from various backgrounds together is something that needs to be commended. It was nice to see everyone hanging out and mingling long after the event was done.
I shook hands and chatted with as much people, and everyone was in a really good mood and expressed that they felt very welcome in the North End. This is something that we hoped to have achieved with this event. That if we are all neighbors,from the same neighborhoods and often going through the same struggles, that it is ok to stop someone and say hi on the street.
I honestly had no idea what to expect from tonight, but it was a great community moment for not only the Indigenous community, but the newcomer population as well. None of this would have been possible without all of the hard work and dedication of our partners and volunteers- Social Planning Council, IRCOM, Spence Neighborhood Association and the AYO team. It was nice to see everyone use their networks to bring as much people out as possible. I feel like we really achieved something in terms of creating a better atmosphere for everyone that lives in the inner city, and I hope that the rest of the city will take notice. This is what community should look like! Meegwetch!