The platform I have chosen to promote as Miss Teenage East Vancouver 2015 is one that lies at the core of my inner values and outlook on life.
My platform: raising awareness for the homeless in society.
The amount of passion I feel for my platform is difficult to put down in words; I have endeavoured to express my utmost advocacy of it through activities I have done in the past few months as Miss Teenage East Vancouver 2015.
Having grown up in suburban Vancouver all my life, the number of homeless inhabiting the streets was something I noticed from a very young age. I have travelled all over North America in my lifetime as well and visited a plethora of urban cities. I have noticed this much: there is not one city whose streets aren’t rife with wandering people who have no where to go.
Some background information and a slight digression: From a young age, I was told by various sources, both young and old, to avoid the haggard looking people who inhabit the streets. I was told, in simple black and white terms, that they were “bad”. In retrospect, this was setting me up for a lifetime of thinking the way many people view the homeless: that, due to a lack of self discipline and hard work, they got what they deserved. Not only does this way of thinking do nothing to solve the problem at hand but also fosters a debilitating dearth of compassion in society.
As a young girl, I once had a lengthy conversation with a homeless woman once, at a playground in a residential neighbourhood in East Van. What struck me was how honest, open, and sincere the woman was. To my five year old self, full of naivety and wonder, she was one of the only adults who didn’t strike me as patronizing or intimidating in the slightest. To this day, that memory is the vividest of all my childhood memories.
Back to my the topic at hand: my platform. Indeed, the way I have grown up and grown passionate about the case of the homeless is what has led me to decide to pursue a political science major at university this Fall and even pursue a career in a similar field. It must have been reiterated countless times but my local MLA of Vancouver Mount Pleasant is a role model to me for many reasons: someone who brings compassion into her line of work and campaigns for rights. The rights of murdered and missing Aboriginal women, the rights of low income families, the rights of those who don’t have a home and barely enough money to scrape by. Since last August in summer 2014, I have worked with the team to bring change. Door knocking was one of my personal favourites as we got to interact with the very people whom we were looking out for. As Miss Teenage East Vancouver 2015, I have only continued my efforts with renewed vigour.
And I can promise this: if I were crowned the winner in Toronto this week, I would only double and triple my efforts as Miss Teenage Canada 2015. It would not end in my municipality of Vancouver Mount Pleasant– I would travel all across the city, the province, and country to bring about change. I put my all into what I’m passionate about and it has been set in stone from the earliest days that giving people second chances, rights, homes, lives, is what I love to do.