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Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier addressed guests at the media launch Feb. 26 for the upcoming youth symposium in partnership with the Town of Ajax and the United Nations Association of Canada at Deer Creek Golf and Country Club on March 20. – Sabrina Byrnes/Metroland Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier addressed guests along with representatives from the United Nations Association of Canada (UNAC) via a video conference Feb. 26 at the media launch for the upcoming youth symposium the Town of Ajax and UNAC are hosting on March 20 at Deer Creek Golf and Country Club. – Sabrina Byrnes/Metroland AJAX — A symposium in March will raise awareness of youths about Indigenous culture and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Youth Navigate the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Symposium will be held on Wednesday, March 20, and it’s a partnership between Ajax and the United Nations Association of Canada (UNAC).

At a news conference at J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate announcing the symposium, Mayor Shaun Collier noted that 2019 has been named the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations.

“Our partnership with the United Nations Association of Canada is the first of its kind in the Region, and it’s another example of the Town’s commitment to being a leader in equity,” Collier said.

About 400 students are expected at the Ajax event and others being held across Canada on the same day — students from Ajax High School, J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology will be participating.

They’ll review the 94 recommendations that came out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, along with the 46 articles in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Youth play a crucial role in understanding what these recommendations mean,” Collier said. “It’s an opportunity for our community to learn, heal and reconcile with Canada’s darkest period of history: residential schools.”

Two speakers will also be there, including a residential school survivor; both speeches will be live-streamed and posted on the town’s YouTube channel.

“It’s an opportunity for our community to speak openly and honestly about some of the most pressing issues facing Canada’s Indigenous communities,” Collier said.

Sarah Kambites, of the UNAC, said that the symposium is a chance to “engage Canadians from coast to coast to coast and talk about global issues.”

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