Climate Matters Workshops are youth facilitated, indigenous-centred, arts-based workshops designed for BC students in grades 6-12.
What is Climate Justice? How can we ensure that indigenous communities and perspectives are at the center of climate change work? Meet four of several mentors at the helm of this in-class program that attempts to answer these questions: Ayendri Perera, Kelsey Sparrow, Kim Villagante, and Puja Prakash.
Ayendri is a Sri Lankan born Vancouver-based activist, facilitator, and youth organizer. She is passionate about intersectional social movements and has been active for years with organizing rooted in anti-oppression, decolonization, and environmental justice.
In the past, Ayendri worked with Youth 4 Global Change, a youth action team committed to the eradication of poverty and inequality, in all of its forms. Currently, Ayendri works with AMES as a mentor and lead facilitator, organizing our facilitation team. She is also currently a facilitator with AMES’ current HumanEYES program.
ʔe:nθa kelsǝy, tǝniʔ cǝn ʔǝ ƛ̓ xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Kelsey Sparrow) is a mixed-race indigenous person of Musqueam, Anishinaabe, and white ancestry. Kelsey identifies as a visual artists that primarily creates with her hands, and is in the early stages of exploring the art of film. Her first engagement with AMES was through a climate justice project with AMES where she assisted in the creation of “Thicker than Oil”, a short video about the protest that took place on Burnaby mountain. Found on Standing-Ground.ca.
As someone who has felt alienated by the environmental movement historically, Kelsey very much wanted to help create spaces for young people to begin to explore what climate justice means, and believes AMES plays an important role in making this a reality.
Kim’s Ancestry dates back to the Philippines but she was born on Unceded Coast Salish Territory. Much of her passion for all things arts, but her deepest connections are to hip-hop, the art of word, drawing and acting. She Identifies as an artivist as Kim uses art not just as a form of expression but also a form of resistance within a system that was not built for people like her and for the people she loves.
Kim is a graduate of UBC’s Visual Arts and Art History program, however, much of her education and deschooling has come about outside of institutional setting and rather through grassroots organizing, hip hop social justice communities and through listening to hip-hop music and spoken word.
Kim is drawn to this work because she recognizes how her knowledge on social issues are not isolated from climate justice issues. The land, water and all of mother earth, play a part in a community’s healing and growth and she wants to be a part of connecting those two dots.
Puja is a community educator working towards building capacity among communities through arts and dialogue based workshops and programs. She moved to Vancouver from Mumbai, two years ago, where she worked with youth in urban slums on a wide range of issues from public hygiene to social justice and self-expression.
Puja likes to spend as much of her time as she can connecting to nature and the unceded land on which she now lives. She believes that this connection is important and shapes one’s identity, stories, and experiences.
- Feature youth-made videos found on Standing-Ground.ca.
- Model environmentally-minded leadership and inspire critical thinking on issues of social and environmental justice.
- Integrate arts and land-based activities that build community and trust within in the classroom.