Who are we?
Three students of colour. Fatimatou, Misanka Stephanie, and Mitchell Rae.
Our project and our objectives
Our goal was to create a space where people of colour could come together in a safer space and discuss the issues and realities of our lives. As students we realized that our experiences as racialized people often are not taken seriously and that our voices can be silenced and erased from spaces of higher education. We wanted to respond to this problem by creating ChamPaint, a place where students of colour could speak and be listened to.
Why did we feel that this project was important for Montreal’s queer and trans youth community?
For our collaboration with Jeunes Queer Youth (JQY) we structured our event around the theme of queerness and sexuality with race. This topic was really important to us because it can be very easy for some people to forget that people who are not straight and people who are not cisgender might also not be white. As a team, we discussed queerness and sexuality a lot and we realized that in school when studying topics about sexuality and gender, a lot of the work focuses on white experiences. Because people of colours voices have been ignored from these sorts of conversations it can make it much harder in our own communities to start talking about sexual orientation and gender identity. Our ChamPaint event that was sponsored by JQY was about having discussions with people of colour about their experiences as LGBTQ people and as people who can be seen with stereotypical sexualities (for example: hyper-sexual Black women and femmes, or sexless Asian women and femmes).
What did we do with the money?
We were able to buy the art supplies we needed as well as food and drinks.
Our project process
The process for executing our dream may be a little unconventional. We went from a concept we talked about together in a class we took together in school, and were fortunate enough to see it become a reality. The process was facilitated in a great part thanks to JQY’s support and structure which proved to be a tried and true formula for building a successful initiative. After designing what we wanted ChamPaint to look like, we made a budget to help us better understand what exactly was possible. We searched for funding while looking into ways we could connect within our social circles and network to get help as well. Throughout the process, we met multiple times as a team to continue to work together as plans shifted and we needed to adapt. As the big day approached, we went and bought everything and prepared our materials for facilitating the discussions we would be having with everyone.
What we learned from doing our project that we’d like to share with you
We think that the thing we learned the most from throwing an event like this was that time management became everything! From budgeting in the time we needed to work on ChamPaint into our busy school-work schedules in the preparation process, to allocating enough time for set-up and take-down of the space. We certainly have a new found appreciation for all the work that goes into hosting an event.
What we’d like other youth to know about our experience with JQY
Getting help from JQY was not just financial as we may have originally thought. Instead, we found ourselves being supported in amazing ways by JQY and our support person who helped us ensure that our project would be a success and make a lasting impact on the folks who came to attend.
How to reach us?
You can check us out on Facebook or Instagram @ChamPaintMTL.