Week 5 Secondary Post: Mute the Musical

On February 17th, I watched Mute the Musical at the Newmarket Theatre. York Regional Police invited the participants of their Voices Over Violence Contest to attend this event. They asked youth to enter a written or spoken word on bullying in hopes of hearing our voices. York Regional Police have also hosted other contests such as the Youth Film Festival to encourage police and community involvement in ending violence.

Mute was a 90 minute long show. It opens with Juliana, the new girl, coming to a prestigious performing arts high school. She is said to have this incredible voice, however, only her grandfather has heard her sing. When her grandfather dies, she loses her voice, thus being labelled “mute” and bullied by four other girls. Juliana has to overcome many obstacles in order to sing again.

I especially enjoyed the message behind the production. In the end, the bullied rises above her hardships and the bullies recognize that violence doesn’t solve anything. In fact, engaging in violence creates more problems, rather than solving them. Although it wasn’t a high-budget, high-scale production, the musical was still entertaining. More importantly, it sheds light on the important issues of youth violence and bullying.

Week 5 Comment: Chemicals in Products

Alyssa’s post: Week 3 Main Blog Post

My comment: I agree with you in that the government hasn’t taken the necessary steps to eliminate or at least reduce the use of harmful chemicals in everyday items. His presentation made me realize how little I know about the products I use and what’s in them. Afterwards, I started to rethink whether anything was safe for the user and for the environment. Although not using BPA or triclosan may drive up costs, I feel like it’d be worth the price we have to pay.

Week 5 Main Post: About Blogging

How can blogging and writing fit into the wider discourse of civic life?

I think blogging fosters a sense of community. It contributes to the wider discourse of civic life because normal, regular people are able to share their views or opinions. Platforms such as WordPress allow for anyone with an Internet connection to read, write, and blog. Blogging can galvanize people to support a worthy cause.

Blogging generates conversation about certain topics that aren’t discussed by traditional media outlets. A lot of bloggers don’t have an agenda to push, so they can report honestly about issues they care about.

How do you hope to contribute?

I hope to blog about social justice issues with clarity and brevity. Often times the academic and political world is full of jargon, which often leads to misunderstanding. I want use simple words, define my terms, and say what I need to in as little words as possible. That is I don’t want to be redundant or misleading.

I want to assist people who aren’t typically helped because they are regarded as different. Many indiciduals belong to part of the minority, so it’s easy to overlook their struggles. I hope that through blogging I can inform people about issues such as mental health or youth violence. Reading books, blogs, etc., is the first step in educating people and eliminating ignorance.

What’s your niche or angle?

I’m a student so I see issues from the perspective of someone who is still trying to figure out the world and my place in it. I strive to keep learning and encourage education. As a teenager I can relate to the issues this generation faces. Additionally I want to increase diversity and support differences.

I aim to connect with students and young adults especially. I feel like teenagers don’t always have their voices heard and as a result they feel powerless in making a difference.

Do other blogs, social media and less-formal media sites help you understand the city? Which ones, if so.

Yes, I love reading other blogs. Occasionally I’ll browse through blogTO to learn more about the city. I like their coverage of various subjects. I think the writing is easy to understand and the stories they cover are of interest.

Week 5 Link: Racism Towards Indigenous Women

Seeing the headline Number of missing and murdered indigenous women higher than thought: Bennett angers me. I don’t understand why society specifically targets a certain group of people. Our best estimates of how many aboriginal women are missing or murdered is nowhere close to the actual number. Discrimination exists everywhere. Despite what some people may think, there is racism in Canada. As time goes on, these issues only seem to grow and get out of hand.

Week 4 Secondary Post: The Opposite of Poverty

The opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.

Bryan Stevenson

I came across this quote on Goodreads. It made me pause because I find myself agreeing with Stevenson.

In a way he’s saying that poverty is an injustice itself. No one wants to be poor. People don’t choose to live in poverty. Unfortunate circumstances happen. And the distribution of wealth in most countries is a system that is full of injustices itself.

Often times we associate wealth with the opposite of poverty because it makes sense. If you aren’t poor, you’re rich. If you don’t live in poverty, you’re one of the wealthy. But that doesn’t account for the people in the middle. The individuals who are neither.

Justice, on the other hand, encompasses everyone. We all deserve to be treated equally. It’s a shame that humankind continues to outcast one group for their differences.

Week 4 Link: Student Art for NBA Weekend

I have no problem with this: TTC stations display student’s art for NBA All-Star Weekend. What I have a problem with is the constant cutting of budgets for art and sports programs at schools because they are deemed as inferior or not as important as academics. The murals look great and I especially enjoy the combination of artistry with athletics.

Week 4 Main Post: City Hall And Digital Divide

I expected formality and professionalism on my first visit to City Hall. And though there were elements of both, it was much more casual than I expected. The meeting resembled a structured conversation where councillors were allowed to speak for an allocated amount of time on a specific issue.

The experience was far from boring. In fact, at times, I felt overwhelmed as I tried to soak it all in. Many individuals from councillors to other members in the audience came and went. I found that my eyes would linger when I saw someone stand to leave.

One day I would like to go back. I think City Hall itself is a fascinating building and an interesting tourist spot.City Hall Meeting
The Digital Divide came up in their discussion.

More specifically, they were going back and forth on a motion of whether or not internet costs should be regulated by the government. It’s a relevant issue, especially as costs continue to rise. Companies like Bell and Rogers are two of the biggest Internet providers. It almost feels like these two companies have a duopoly, meaning Bell and Rogers dominate the Internet service market, which makes it harder for other businesses to compete against them. More importantly, this duopoly means regulation of prices by the government or some other body of power is more difficult.

The divide between those who can access the Internet and those who cannot continues to be a growing concern for all. It’s difficult for those in lower-income neighbourhoods to access technology such as computers or smartphones. And for the individuals who do, the access is limited.

According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), more than 80 percent of Canadian households have access to the Internet. Although that number seems high, it isn’t as high as other countries such as Iceland or Denmark where over 90 percent of homes have a connection to the World Wide Web.

It’s interesting to note the varying rates of access across the country. Statistics Canada did a study on Canadian Internet usage back in 2012, determining the percentage of household access by province. It found that British Columbia and Alberta ranked the highest while New Brunswick had the lowest percentage.

I personally cannot imagine my life without the Web. Regardless I’m still baffled by how much my parents pay every month.