Transcription For Fresh Eyes Video

Note: There are several people in this video, and because many of their names aren't known you'll see "Young man" or "Young woman" at the beginning of some lines where the speaker changes.  Also, each paragraph is a different scene.

(Song intro plays and a youth speaks while a searies of phrases shows up on the screen)
Phrases on the screen are: "Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Youth Drop-In Centre ... Fresh Eyes is a year long program with 3 phases ... That EMPOWERS youth ... Through peer based learning, ... Role plays, and group discussions".
The song in the background repeats "We three kings of orient are.  We three kings of ori-, ori-.  We three kings of orient are.  We three kings of ori-, ori- ...".
Over the song a young man says: "Yeah.  This song means a lot to me.  I had it in my books for, like 2 years.  I've been looking over it, I'm not changing nothing, keep it as it is.  Just gotta get some things off my chest".

(At the Youth Drop)In Centre):
This is Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Youth Drop-In Centre.

Female questioner: Daniel, what does oppression mean to you?
Daniel: Um ... what about oppression?
Female questioner: What does it mean to you?
Daniel: It's a word that means that someone who is in higher authority is using their power against people of lower authority.

Fresh Eyes.  What is it?

Ben: Hey, Thomas!  How are you?  It's me, Ben, from Chester High School.  How you been doin'?
Thomas: I'm doin' well.
Ben: You don't look too good.

Fresh Eyes is a diverse leadership training program.

(Music plays and youth are talking to each other in the background, but it's not clear what they're saying.)
Male questioner: Hey, hi, how are you?
Shonelle: I'm good.  How are you?
Male questioner: I'm good, thank you.  And your name?
Shonelle: My name's Shonelle.
Male questioner: Shonelle?
Shonelle: Yeah.
Male questioner: And Shonelle, are you in school?
Shonelle: Yes I am.  I'm in Grade 10 going to Grade 11.
Male questioner: Grade 10 going to Grade 11, and what school do you go to?
Shonelle: Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Male questioner: Pierre Elliott Trudeau?
Shonelle: Yeah, I live in Scarborough but I go to school in Unionville, 'cause I'm in the French program.
Male questioner: So, you're taking French and you go to a Prime Minister's school.  Does he - is he the principal personally?
Shonelle: (Laughs.) No.  Um, his son comes and visits us, and gives us motivational speeches.
Male questioner: Are they motivational?
Shonelle: (Laughs again.) We had two - two were pretty good.  But he was being watched on TV, so I think he was supposed to be good.
Male questioner: OK, so, someone by the name of Jean-Anne was saying how the media has a big impact on society.  So, you said that because the media was there he had to be a certain way.  And did you feel that personally, like in his body language and the way he was speaking?
Shonelle: I actually do.  I feel like the media has such an effect on the way people act, but it depends on who you are.  If you're a very impressionable person then you're going to take anything the media says and you're going to apply it to your life.  If you're a person who likes to think for yourself, then at the end of the day it doesn't matter what happens.

Young woman: Everyone watches the NBA, but they won't watch the women's NBA, like, you know what I mean?  It's really hard.  It's like, for a girl, they just see this girl as an object, other than a guy they see as mighty, and strong, and they can do this and that.  But if it was a girl they don't really see them as that much power.
Male questioner: But why is that?  Do you feel, in a way, disrespected by that?
Young woman: A lot, because I feel like they feel like girls can't do anything that guys can do.  So it kind of does hurt, but you have to live with it.  But at the same time, I think girls' sports are actually getting up there.  And they're starting to notice about girls, especially in high school, so it's different.

Male questioner: Do you think that the media ... ?
Young woman: Yeah, I see that a lot actually.  'Cause what I notice is either the media is telling you - they're showing you things that you shouldn't be doing, like bad things and everything, or they're showing you things that unbelievable people did and everything.  And you try to be like them and you can't really be like them.  So, I think they should kind of go halfway, in between.  It's not really helping, really.  People are getting, like, high hopes, or like, nothing.  So the media's not really helping.
Male questioner: How?
Young woman: I don't know.  When you ask someone about gangs and violence and all that, they usually tell you they see all of it on TV, right?  So, that's basically it, 'cause everything's biased and they just want you to think a certain way.
Male questioner: It helps?  Do you think that it's working?
Young woman: No, I don't get what they're trying to teach you.

(Clip of youths in a classroom.)
Young woman: ... marks higher?  And I just got a scholarship in New York City.  How can I afford that?

(Outside.) Male questioner: What does oppression mean to you?
Young woman: It means, like, not being allowed to be a part of a group or something.  Not being included in activities, and people, they discriminate against you, and they treat you badly.
Female questioner: OK, um, coming to this center, do you feel that this youth center is inclusive and allows everybody to participate?
Young woman: Yeah, I think this center does allow everybody to participate, because we have discussions every Tuesday, and everybody is involved, and everybody has a say.

Male questioner: I guess, as an individual, you said you want to work on stuff your own way?
Young man: Yeah, to be nice to people and it helps them out.  Instead of the man thinking of children, women, like whatever, like objects of their pleasurement.  That's all.
Male questioner: So, pretty much just be helpful and nice to people, and you'll get ahead in life?
Young man: Yeah, and make new friends, and start new.

This week, we're going around the neighborhood, and we're trying to give out flyers, and spread the word, and tell people about summer stuff that we've got going on over here.  We want to invite people into this community, right?  And, we just want to make sure that when new people do come here, that they start off on the right foot.

Fresh Eyes is a five-week program.

Young man: ... Jamaica.  Uh, and the words associated with that is, physical appearances, profession, influence, and silence.
Female questioner: So, where did he feel silent?
Another young man: Mainly the U.S., because of the whole racist, oppressive ...

Male questioner: And how old are you, if you don't mind?
Young man: Eighteen.
Male questioner: Eighteen?  Are you in school?  Going to college, university?
Young man: I have to answer that honestly?
Male questioner: Yeah.
Young man: OK, I got kicked out of school still.
Male questioner: OK, so you got kicked out of school.  And, do you feel that you can kind of self-educate yourself by reading books, catching up on some of the studies that you missed out on?
Young man: Well, reading books is one thing, but beyond this, I wouldn't read a lot of books to tell you the truth.  I don't read a lot of books.  But like, I read some books, you know.  Most books I read tend to use the Bible.  It's 'cause, where I got sent, that's why I read the Bible, you know?  So, I'm interested in that, but I'm still trying to do the school thing, trying to get a better job, trying to live a better life.  Like you, I would love to go into acting or something.  I'm trying to be rich too.  Like, come on, who's not trying to be rich, you know?  Like, I rap, you know what I mean?  Anybody who wants to rap, I want them to haller at me, but right now I can't even leave my crib.  So, you know?  Hey, I'm just trying to say, anybody that's listening, don't screw up your life, especially at a young age.  Do not screw up your life, ever.
Male questioner: So, maybe, if you could, if you have any words that you could freestyle quickly about oppression and whatever you feel that you can spit.  Anything, whether it's written previously or you want to just go risk it now  If there's anything you can say in regards to anything, growing in society.
Young man: I have a few words, you know.  I'll kick a little tiny freestyle.  If you got big dreams, go get it.  Don't let anybody say you can't get it.  Yo.  (Laughs.) Shoot, that's all I got to say.

Fresh Eyes helped me to appreciate and include people of ethnic backgrounds and different abilities into my life.

Male questioner: ... You're discovering yourself as well?
Young man: Yes.  For me personally, I've come from a different part of society, and I'm trying to adapt myself to another part of society where there's literature and reading and writing mostly, not in a gangs and drugs society.  You know what I mean?
Female questioner:So, can you tell me an issue in your community that effects you and that you're passionate about or want to make change - want to see changed?
Young man: Drugs mostly.  I'm not trying to be like, top drug dealer in the area, 'cause that will either lead me into jail or death.
Female questioner: Mm-hmm.  So, how do you think your community, or you more importantly, can move past that?
Young man: I don't think my community can pass that.  Um, I feel it's wrong ...
Female questioner: Why?
Young man: Because it's their choices, you know?  If they choose to do the same thing they do, then I cannot help them to choose another path.  I can only help myself into choosing another path.
Male questioner: Do you think hopefully that can inspire them to change, to see that someone from their environment changed and is doing well for themselves?  Do you think that can kind of trickle down and can be helpful to the other people in your community?
Young man: Hopefully, if I do this in the future, then maybe you'll see it, but only time will tell really.

(Different youth call out different words associated with oppression.)
Young woman: Sexism. (The word "Differences" shows on the screen.)
Young woman: Racism. (The phrase "skin tone" shows on the screen.)
Young woman: Islamophobia. (The word "Religion" shows on the screen.)
Young woman: Homophobia. (The word "Unfair" shows on the screen.)
Young man: Age-ism. (The word "Alone" shows on the screen.)
Young woman: Classism. (The word "Inequity" shows on the screen.)
Young man: Reverse racism. (The word "Minority?" shows on the screen.)

Young man: ... Uh, smarten up and do better.  And for bully?  Yeah, I don't have - I recall times, like, for no random reason this one kid was seeking me out, for no apparent reason at all.  So I just, like, I didn't tell the teacher or anything, right.  He just, like, pushed me into a locker one time and I was like, "OK, whatever, just walk away".  And then he kind of stopped after a couple days at least.
Male questioner: OK, just for a couple days, huh?
Young man: Yeah, a couple days.  If not I'd really wanted to get back at this guy, but, you know, I was like "Whatever, it's not worth getting into trouble for".  So I just let it go.  He let it go too, which I'm surprised, and now, well, I don't come into contact with this guy exactly.  I didn't even know him in the first place and I don't even know why he wanted to seek me out or anything, so I just let the whole thing go.

David Meyers, BBNC staff: Fresh Eyes is an anti-oppression project offered by youth and staff of Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre's Youth Drop-In Centre, located in southwest Scarborough.  During this integrated 10-month project offered in 2010 and 2011, up to 32 youth of different identities and abilities increased their learning of anti-oppression principles, applying them to lived experience of such barriers as racism, sexism, and able-ism.  Through workshops, group work, videography and civic action, many youth came to see underlying causes and impacts of oppression, and increase respectful engagement with fellow youth, both at the centre and in the wider community.  The Fresh Eyes project was offered in partnership with Harmony Movement, and is generously funded by the City of Toronto's Access, Equity & Human Rights grant.