We Day 2012 in Vancouver: Photos, Quotes, Coverage

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

We Day Vancouver has returned and throughout the day today I’ll be posting photos, quotes, information, and other coverage to help spread the word about this motivational and inspirational event.

This is the 4th year that We Day has come to Vancouver, filling Rogers Arena with 20,000 school kids and motivational celebrities and storytellers on the main stage thanks to Free The Children.

Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner that has more than 1.7 million young people involved in its programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens.

Today’s speaker line-up at Rogers Arena includes:

  • Dr. Holly Branson – Free The Children ambassador, daughter of Sir Richard Branson
  • A performance by ONE DROP, a Cirque du Soleil Founder’s initiative
  • Premier Christy Clark – Premier of British Columbia
  • Shawn Desman – Platinum selling and Juno Award winning recording artist
  • Magic Johnson – Basketball Hall of Fame legend
  • My name is Kay – Canadian singer and songwriter
  • Demi Lovato – Singer-songwriter and X Factor judge
  • OneRepublic – Platinum selling, Grammy nominated, American pop/rock band
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Nobel Peace Laureate

If you are not one of the lucky attendees today you can watch online through MuchMusic and they will also air television broadcasts on Sunday, November 11th and Sunday, November 24th 2012 starting at 3:00pm Pacific Time.

Download the We Day application for iPhone for more information and follow the conversations on Facebook and through @FreeTheChildren #WeDay #Vancouver on Twitter.

I will pick up the coverage around 9:00am today. Stay tuned!

#WeDay panorama from @RogersArena before the show starts.

Update After an introduction from Premier Christy Clark and Mayor Gregor Robertson, Free the Children founders Mark and Craig Kielburger kick off We Day Vancouver 2012. They also announced the We Create Change program where you can gather up your Canadian pennies (which are no longer being made) and drop them off at a local RBC branch.

They will go toward a program that provides clean water in developing countries. Just $25 can ensure that one person has access to clean water for life.

We Day 2012 in Vancouver We Day 2012 in Vancouver

Following the introduction, Magic Johnson is up as the first speaker. The young crown chants “Magic! Magic!” as he takes the stage to talk about today’s message: “Be The Change”. The most memorable message from his talk about the HIV education he does and also acceptance: “Let’s hug and support people, and high five them, instead of bringing them down.”

We Day 2012 in Vancouver

Update Honorable Justice Sinclair, first judge of Aboriginal descent in Manitoba, is up next to educate the audience on the residential schools that were run in Canada throughout the last century. “Racism in its purest form was practiced in those schools”. He speaks about awareness and education about this history, asking the audience to pass along the message that this was not okay, and is not okay. “Talk to and about aboriginal people with respect, just as you want to be respected.”

Update Craig and Marc are back on stage for their keynote and to explain the various programs and campaigns that kids can campion and lead at their school. There’s We Scare Hunger (formerly Halloween for Hunger which is coming up next, followed by We Are Love around Valentine’s Day, and We Are Silent in the spring. There are also Mini We Days that can be hosted at your school.

Update This We Day has been unique for me compared to previous years. Instead of running from the press room to the media box and to the arena floor I was a guest of TELUS and I brought my niece with me to experience the event. We were stationary most of the day, looking out over the crowd from the TELUS guest suite. I wanted her to see We Day as it has always moved me, and this year was no different.

We Day Vancouver 2012

Update After lunch Craig Kielburger sat down with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to talk about his incredible life in South Africa during Apartheid and that memorable day when he was first able to vote in an election in his country. “Racism is awful because it condemns you for something you cannot control.”

The Archbishop said that everyone there was a VSP — very special person. Craig asked him about the role of young people to which he responded that they would not be freed today, Nelson Mandela would not have left prison, and more if not for the supporters — many of which were students. He said, “what is a leader without followers?

We Day Vancouver 2012

Craig asked him what he felt the day he was able to vote for the first time in his country. “How do you tell someone who is blind that a flower is a red, red rose? How do you tell someone who is deaf about great music?” He said that he vent into the voting tent one man, and came out another. A free man. Despite the strong and powerful message that the Archbishop brought to We Day, he was also very sweet and delivered a few hearty chuckles — he has such an infectious laugh, you can’t help but smile.

Update Demi Lovato came out for her performance and had a message about depressing and bullying for the thousands of screaming fans. “I have been through a lot of the same issues as you. This is something you can get through, it will not bring you down!”

Shane Koyczan made a surprise appearance to deliver “Instructions for a Bad Day” which was a collaboration with students for Pink Shirt Day last year.

Update Holly Branson made a special announcement that there will be a We Day UK next year. She was joined by a video message from British pop singer Ellie Goulding on the big screen. Holly said one of the most memorable quotes of the day: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This touched on the point the Kielburger brothers made as well. They demonstrated this by having Marc snap a pencil on stage. Then he snapped two. But Craig handed him two dozen and he was stumped. It was the power of many, the power of “WE”.

Update Last year, motivational speaker Spencer West told the We Day crowd that he was going to raise funds for clean water in Kenya by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. This past June he did just that. What’s remarkable about Spencer — aside from his great stories and fantastic outlook on life — is that he has no legs. He was told from a young age that they wouldn’t amount to much. The theme of his mountain climb, which he did with his arms and with the help of friends, was “Redefine Possible”. He emphasized that he couldn’t have done it alone either. “We all forget to ask for help because we’re afraid it might be seen as a sign of weakness.”

Update The Kielburger brothers rounded out We Day with a closing address that demonstrated their 3 Laws of Social Change: Law of the Few (never underestimate the power of a few to create change); Law of Will (they quoted Nellie McClung who led the suffrage movement in Canada. (“Never retract, never explain, never apologize; get things done and let them howl.”); Law of We (quoting Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”)

We Day Vancouver 2012

After another performance from One Republic everyone left We Day with ideas of “Be The Change” floating around in their heads. They may go back to their schools and start a We Scare Hunger (formerly Halloween for Hunger or We Create Change campaign. They may tell their friends what they saw and heard today. There are now 20,000 more young people around BC who are empowered with the knowledge that they can each make a different locally and globally, and that’s pretty magical.

3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. JKayThursday, October 18th, 2012 — 10:52pm PDT

    I am SHOCKED that We day organizers allowed Christy Clark to speak at We day. Clark was the worst minister of education our province has ever seen and for over a decade she has damaged our public education system. Under her watch, many special needs children and at risk children (many of them aboriginal) have fallen through the cracks. I hope the 20, 000 amazing children and youth present at We day, many of whom attend our public school system, succeed despite Clarks efforts to destroy B.C.’s public education system.

  2. freedom 35, Google shares drop sharplyThursday, October 18th, 2012 — 11:03pm PDT

    […] DAY coverage by miss604. It’s about supporting our youths because they are our future.  This annual event is […]

  3. TiffTuesday, January 22nd, 2013 — 5:06pm PST

    I attended We Day myself, and many months later, I’m still inspired! A great part of the day was when the Wanted mentioned and thanked my school in a message: I’ll always remember that.

    JKay: I don’t think it’s bad the the premier spoke at such a big event in her province. It isn’t really about politics, she just wanted to say something. I doubt many of the kids in the audience will think about that (or can even vote!)

    I think there were many more private schools there than you might realize. I’m from a private school but none of us were in uniform, we were all wearing casual so it might’ve been harder to recognize. We were also a pretty big school, lots of high school and elementary school kids going: 75 or so seats.

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