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My Mother's Home 2017
On May 18th, nearly 200 people filled Vancity Theatre for My Mother’s Home 2017, a celebration of migration, motherhood, and diversity, and the first event of the 2017 Fresh Voices speaker series. Vancouver Foundation's Fresh Voices initiative amplifies the voices of immigrant and refugee youth who are leading efforts to make BC a more supportive place for young newcomers and their families.
The evening began with guests viewing a photo exhibit co-curated by Rita Hernandez and the Fresh Voices Youth Advisory Team (YAT). Portrait photography captured the intimate bonds between newcomer mothers and their families, while heartfelt passages accompanying each image gave young people an opportunity to describe their mothers in their own words.
Once guests had a chance to view the gallery, they moved into the screening area for the event’s main portion. Charlene Johnny opened this stage of the proceedings with an Indigenous acknowledgment, while author and poet Onjana Yawnghwe followed with a passionate reading of her work ‘Braid’.
Upon the film’s completion, three newcomer mothers were invited on stage for a speakers panel. With their children and friends translating, the women discussed the pain of being separated from family, the joys of being reunited, and the ongoing issues they face in Canada.
The event then headed back to the foyer, where the evening closed with delicious Syrian food and socializing. It was also during this time that the YAT announced our #LostVotesYVR campaign to secure municipal voting rights for permanent residents in Vancouver.
Approximately 60, 000 permanent residents in Vancouver are kept forcibly silent during municipal elections, despite calling this city home, working here, paying taxes here, and sending their children to local schools. It’s time that local government is accountable to all residents, and we hope you’ll join us on our campaign to make this a reality.
My Mother’s Home 2017 was a night we’ll look back on for years to come, and it served as just a small way of celebrating the immigrant and refugee mothers who give back so much. Thank you to all who attended!