The following tips will help you organize an Our Dreams Matter Too walk and letter writing event in your community:
Why is the walk happening?
First Nations children get less funding for services like education, health and child welfare than all other children enjoy. This makes it hard for First Nations children to achieve their dreams and grow up proud of who they are. This walk is to show how many people support First Nations children receiving the same opportunity to succeed as all other children in ways that respect their cultures and languages.
This peaceful and respectful walk supports three campaigns:
- Shannen's Dream (www.shannensdream.ca) for "safe and comfy schools" and quality education
- Jordan's Principle (www.jordansprinciple.ca) to ensure equitable access to all government services and
- I am a witness (www.fnwitness.ca) to help First Nations children grow up safely at home.
People can support all three campaigns for free and in under two minutes. Watch this video to learn more.
When is Our Dreams Matter Too Day?
It is on June 11 which is the anniversary of the Prime Minister's apology for Residential Schools.
Can I just send a letter instead of walking?
Yes you can. While we encourage the walks we also very much appreciate people who take the time to send letters - here is a sample letter to help you
What do I need to do to organize an Our Dreams Matter Too Walk?
- Encourage people to write letters to the Prime Minister, Premier and their Member of Parliament using the sample letter as a guide. People should write these letters before the walk if possible so get teachers involved in your communities to invite children to write too! Have extra print outs of the letter on hand so people can write them out at the walk. Remember no postage is needed to send letters to the Prime Minister, Premier or Members of Parliament so people of all income levels can participate!
- Build a mailbox that represents the dreams, hope and dignity of First Nations children and this mail box then becomes the destination for your walk. Set up a meeting point and time for your walk (any time you choose on June 11).
- In some areas, you may need a permit for the walk from the First Nations Government or Band Council or Municipal Government. Contact them to find out if one is needed.
- Remember safety is a top concern so have people help direct the walkers to make sure no one gets in the way of traffic, and everyone finds their way to the mailbox destination safe and sound! As with any public event, it is always a good idea to have the phone numbers of emergency services (police, fire, first aid and ambulance) and to make sure all people assisting with the walk know how to contact these services if needed.
- Place your mailbox at your walk destination point and set up a meeting place for the walk to begin. Put the meeting point, walk destination and the time of your walk on this sample poster. You can even use a Canada Post mailbox as your walk destination point if you do not have time to build a mailbox.
- Visit the Shannen's Dream, Jordan's Principle and I am a witness websites and print off posters or order pins for participants to wear during the walk. Get your community members involved in creating their own Our Dreams Matter Too walk banners and posters!
- On the day of the walk, get everyone to meet at the meeting point and begin walking to the mailbox. Once at the mailbox, have people put their letters into your mailbox and then count the number of walkers and letter writers. Enter those numbers onto the Our Dreams Matter Too website and see where other walks are happening across the country!
- Put the letters into a Canada Post mailbox. So long as each letter is addressed to the Prime Minister or Member of Parliament postage is free. You can also put several letters into a larger envelope.
- What about donations? Donations to support Shannen's Dream, Jordan's Principle and the I am a witness campaign can be made on-line or by mailing a cheque or money order payable to the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada to: Suite 401 - 309 Cooper Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 0G5
If you need more information or to order buttons and posters for your Our Dreams Matter Too walk, please contact email@example.com