When I immigrated from Iran to Canada, I joined our community’s youth council. As a foreigner with a different background, language and culture, members of the youth council welcomed me and made me feel included and empowered to be my authentic self.
The community was so nice and kind to me. Members of our youth council valued me as an individual and asked my opinion and listened to me. I could join them as who I was and to be myself. They genuinely asked me to participate and shared their experiences with me, and I got fully and equally involved in an activity or event within our youth council. I didn’t feel I was left behind.
Members asked me how I was and took the time to get to know me as a person. I didn’t feel the barriers to participation, the wall, the steps, the glass ceiling. They understand what is needed to keep me involved. Members arranged/re-arranged the events so that I can attend.
Through their kindness and devotion, members of our youth council teach by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance.
I felt welcomed, I felt included, I felt seen, and able to be me. It’s important to consider how sharing our stories builds inclusion. I hope that through telling my story, I place a big emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and belonging and how I felt represented and valued as a foreigner in Canada.
Erfan, 21, Canada