We Day returns to Calgary
Young Calgary volunteers come to We Day to be inspired
Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome was filled with 16,000 people on Nov. 3. Filled with teachers, students and other guests from over 600 schools. Cheers erupted from the diverse, brightly colored crowd of youth that began doing the We Day dance with signs stating, ‘We Are The Change.’
We Day is a growing phenomenon that has been taking place for the last eight years, inspiring thousands of youth for change. It has expanded in the last year from originally only Canada to now taking place in the United States and United Kingdom.
“No one deserves to be here more than each and every one of you.” says Craig Kielburger who cofounded the event with Marc Kielburger.
They explained to the crowd that the event is free, but an invitation is needed to be a part of it — earned through participation in the We Act program, which is year-long and involves one local cause of action and one global cause of action.
15-year-old Christian Romagero from Spruce Avenue School in Edmonton shares with The Reflector how mindboggling the event was.
“I didn’t expect to be here. The reason why I give back to my community is I love doing it, I don’t expect getting anything back. By being here, it’s just like WOW.”
Because the event was catering to junior and high school students, the event was organized into four periods, with teachers for each.
The first was about the connection between everyone. The co-founders spoke about how if there is a starving child in India, that matters to them — and this empowerment is done through access.
Following the performance of ‘Someday’ by the sultry heartthrobs of Neverest that ignited emotions and cellphone lights from the audience, came Faith and Juliette; two girls that travelled from Kenya to speak about Free The Children.
Spencer West led the second period with charisma and a red bow tie, sharing how from the empowerment of technology, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with no legs.
“Today I’m standing — or sitting — in front of you, because of science.”
Then places the question, “How will you use phones for good?” after sharing that there are 6000 tweets sent every second, and how the six-billion cell phones in the world today that can be used for sharing positivity.
The Alberta born Alyssa Reid then graced the stage with ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed,’ which opened the stage for Canadian astronaut Dave Williams.
Williams shares his realization that, “We are all in this together. We all have to take care of our planet,” which came to him while staring at the beautiful blue oasis beneath him, which was the earth from his view while on the moon.
Then after hearing from Shawn Desmon and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi at the beginning of the third period, came another appearance by Alyssa Reid — this time joining the energetic Virginia to Vegas performing ‘We Are Stars,’ for the social empowerment focus.
The Reflector spoke with both artists before the event and Virginia to Vegas says that he was inspired when he wrote the song and hopes that others get inspired from it.
He also shared a story of when the song first came out and he received a message from someone stating that the song has helped him stay sober for the last 10 days.
“It was one of those moments where I was like wow, it’s really cool that you can write something that is going to affect someone else’s life.”
Which is also why she chose to be a part of We Day.
“You’re teaching people from such a young age that if they want a change in the world, they have to be that change. Just one positive step is a step in the right direction. ”
Olympic medalist Silken Laumann shared personal stories of dealing with mental health; growing up and not knowing if her mom would be cheerfully singing and painting, or screaming and smashing plates, because of her undiagnosed illness.
“Whoever or whatever is making you feel worthless, that you don’t deserve respect, they’re wrong,” Laumann said.
Ashley Rose Murphy was well spoken when sharing her story of being born with HIV. Three million children around the world are born and living with HIV/AIDS, and the stigma behind it needs to be reduced.
“I wasn’t supposed to be here,” shared Murphy. “Not just at We Day; I wasn’t supposed to be alive. But I’m here and I feel great!”
More than $45 million dollars has been raised since We Day started in 2007 for causes around the world.
Visit weday.com and freethechildren.com for information, performances and interviews from past events, documentaries and other videos about social change.