Every once in a while, I get the opportunity to chat with one of my kids about my work and my life experiences living and working in Canada. I work with newcomers and I often see the challenges of them integrating socially and economically in the this society. In some cases it can be quite complex.
While Jelan and I were driving this week,I shared with him my experience at a high level meeting which I attended and I was the only coloured person in a room of about 120 people. We spoke about the barriers in accessing opportunities in Canada.
He took me by surprise when he said: “I have never felt discriminated here. I think I have equal opportunities like everyone else. Education is available – I have to simply know what I want to do and I can do it. I apply for jobs and I have gotten them. I have a wide group of friends and I feel that we are all just having fun together.”
We continued the conversation about the baby boomers in Canada who are on their way out of the systems and explored the gaps that may be left behind and whether young people are up to taking on more responsibilities to continue the structures that have been put in place by generations ahead of us.
He said, “Young people must be prepared to take up the challenges and continue to build the society. They need to have a reality check because many things are not they way they think it is – to simply enjoy luxuries without working for it. We must work to create our place in the society – there is a responsibility to this.”
It was only a small nugget of conversation but it gives me hope that Jelan, who is nineteen, believes that he has an equal opportunity in this society and that he knows that he has to put effort to achieve his goals.
What do you think?