Youth homelessness is a preventable tragedy. Youth who are homeless are far more likely to die young than other youth. Those who die without safe and secure housing must be recognized, and memorialized. The Youth Homelessness Memorial Spirit Flags have been created to remind everyone that their lives were important, and that we can do better than this for our young citizens.
Scyndy Ross, an artist and member of the Coming Up Together conference Youth Stream planning team, was already collecting names for a memorial that would honour and remember these friends and loved ones when she joined the Youth Stream team. The Youth Stream planning team then worked together to develop the idea of a physical memorial, and created the first Memorial Spirit Flags, available to view at the conference which ran from February 20 to 22, 2018.
Each flag has friendship pins attached to the bottom, so that viewers may take one and wear it as a sign that this life mattered – that we see them, we will remember, and we will fight to change the unjust systems that cost them their lives.
This memorial is dedicated to all young people who have died, unnecessarily and tragically, because they did not have adequate housing or supports.
The Centre for Urban Youth Research is committed to helping the Spirit Flags continue to have an impact. We are hoping to help the Flags travel across Canada, and ultimately to present them to Parliament. Stay tuned for more details.