Youth Activist Forum
Canadian disability organizations report a lack of youth involvement and academic literature exploring Canadian disability movements is concerned with the lack of new leaders. Working under Citizens with Disabilities-Ontario and partnering with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, a participatory action research team planned and hosted a three day Youth Activist Forum (YAF) at Carleton University from June 11-14, 2011. YAF aimed to explore youth involvement in Ontario disability politics and brought together 38 youth with and without disabilities to meet emerging and established disability leaders.
We hosted 27 speakers who presented on topics including: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, youth leadership, direct action, disability and sexuality, disability and sport, and radical disability politics. The program also included significant arts and cultural components in the form of poetry, comedy, dance performances, a documentary screening, interactive workshops, and a caberet night. YAF highlighted new modes of activism related to disability, thereby challenging established leaders, academics, and policy makers to take account of diverse and creative youth leadership.