We Day 2012: Vancouver

November 21, 2012

Breaking News, Community, Events

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A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be given tickets to attend We Day 2012 Vancouver, hosted by Jesse Giddings. Guests such as Demi Lovato, Cody Simpson, One Republic, Shawn Desman, Tyler Shaw and My Name Is Kay performed, while other famous faces like Magic Johnson and Degrassi actors Annie Clark and Luke Bilyk gave insightful speeches.

The mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, and premier Christy Clark helped open the show, speaking about homelessness and bullying. Clark also gave a moving presentation, reminding us of the tragic stories of Terry Fox and Amanda Todd. Following them, the band, One Republic, gave a spectacular and energetic performance while everyone sang loudly along.

Magic Johnson, famous basketball player, then came on stage and spoke about equality. Speaking about bullying, he said, “In this building, we have 20,000 young leaders. And when you’re a leader and see someone who is getting bullied, a leader stops that.”

After an amazing dance performance by Shawn Desman and a video message by The Wanted (the greatest band ever), Molly Burke, victim of serious bullying, gave an emotional speech. She told the story of when she was young with a leg injury; a few bullies had led her out into the woods and left without warning, taking her crutches. She told of her extreme troubles and need for help, how awful she felt at that moment. At the end of her speech, she revealed to everyone that she was also blind. The arena erupted in gasps, everyone sympathizing with her intense pain. She then finished up by introducing us all to her guide dog, stepping off the stage.

To everyone’s surprise, special guest Cody Simpson unexpectedly came on stage, sang and spoke. Afterward, Archbishop Desmond Tutu then came up on stage and gave a touching interview. “I would have been nothing without the people who believed in me as a leader,” he said, “What is a leader without followers?” When Tutu was asked about how it felt in 1994 when he was free to vote, he said, “How do you tell someone who is blind, ‘Oh, this flower is a red rose,’? How do you tell someone who is deaf about music? How do you tell someone how it feels to fall in love?” The We Day creators then surprised him with his favourite African artist Angelique Kidjo, who sang and danced with the Archbishop. A truly sentimental moment!

Demi Lovato then came on stage, a moment the majority of the arena had been waiting for. She sang her hit song “Give Your Heart A Break” before telling her tragic stories of when she was a victim of bullying. Luke Bilyk and Annie Clarke followed and spoke, My Name Is Kay performing after that.

To conclude, Spencer West, a genuinely amazing man, came on stage to talk about his climb to the top of Mount Killimanjaro. He talked about his troubles of the intense journey, the good and the bad. The most shocking thing about West, though, was that he did not have any legs. West was born without his bottom half, resulting in him having to walk on his hands. But despite the doubt of many people, he managed to have a magnificent attitude and drive to keep moving forward. One Republic came on stage once more and closed the show with a final performance.

We Day creators and brothers Marc and Craig Kielburger formed We Day in 2007. The annual event has been extremely successful so far, inspiring young people everywhere to step up and live their dreams. I am glad I attended it, and I encourage everyone to attend next year if given the chance.

By Nicolle Gunson

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