7 Ways to Get Involved With AYO! This Summer!

As the weather heats up, so do activities within the AYO! Movement! This summer we will be hosting  these 7 opportunities (there may be more) and will be debuting our first ever AYO Staff position for one lucky summer student!! Find below some upcoming upcoming opportunities for Indigenous youth:

AYO Politix & #PDvotes17 (Saturdays)

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There is a provincial by election to replace MLA Kevin Chief in Point Douglas on June 13th 2017! That means AYO Politix (#politixBS) is meeting with individual candidates, recording Speed Rounds and working with other community groups to have an All Candidates Forum! Stay tuned to the AYO Politix Facebook Page to learn more!  We will be asking the candidates to speak on local economic development, child welfare (See Fearless R2W) and Health (See our TOP 5 Health Policy list). Our festivities began on Sat May 20th, with Green Party’s Sabrina Koehn Binesi! Upcoming Brain Storm dates are below:

Meet Me at the Bell Tower (Fridays)

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The MM@BT movement continues to meet Fridays at 6pm in cooperation with the Indigenous Family Centre and Food Not Bombs (and of course our relatives the Bear Clan gather at 6pm on the same corner). We look forward to welcoming consultations related to The Merchant’s Corner, a bell tower baby first birthday and a chance to explore both mental and community health!

Fearless R2W (Thursdays & 1 Saturday)

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Fearless R2W is moving forward, we are about to release our re-vamped Community and Government Recommendations on our blog! We continue to meet Thursdays at Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre at 510 King Street and are beginning the process for our first ever COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FORUM. We will also be supporting the AYO Politix Candidate’s Forum and asking questions on child welfare.

Inner City Voices (Mondays)

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Every Monday for the past 5 years, @northendmc has been hanging out on the CKUW airwaves with many of the other rowdies from AYO & the Village including Jenna Liiciious, Markus, Chris, Ninoondawah and many more! MC & Liiciious recently had a blast hosting the 11th Annual Volunteer Awards & Listener Appreciation Party for the CKUW family! We promote local musicians, especially hip hop, and are always looking for interesting and exciting ways to collaborate with inner city residents and groups as well as other shows on CKUW like Rogues Primate.

The Village Walk (Mondays)

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Back by popular demand and now in it’s 3rd year, it’s the Village Walk! Brought to you by SpiritFusion, AYO!, Ma Mawi Chi Itata, Got Bannock? & more – The Village Walk provides a chance each lunch hour, on Mondays, to start your week with a walk around the community where we can explore the neighbourhood and get healthy together.

Youth Pipe Ceremonies (Saturdays)


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We’re back for the 2nd year of weekly, summertime, street level youth led ceremony! We’ve already hosted 2 events at the North End Bell Tower and the Merchant’s Hotel. We are looking forward to supporting other events in the community where ceremony, and the streets can come together, in spaces where we can pray for families and express gratitude for the good things we have in our lives.

100 Basketballs (Family Fun Day in August)

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For the past 3 years, #100Basketballs has provided inner city children and youth with free basketballs and a family fun day that featured basketball related give aways, food, entertainment, 3 on 3 basketball tournaments and more! This year, 100 Basketballs will happen in August and for the first time will be in the West End of Winnipeg. More details will be available soon!

  • If you wish to partner, support, donate equipment, shoes, basketballs or help in any other way please contact Lenard Monkman at lenardmonkman@gmail.com
  • Donations can be dropped off with the AYO team Fridays at MM@BT

There you have it! After 7 years of existing it is amazing to see how our volunteers and partner organizations continue to work together to make space in the village for community to be created. We have now shared 7 of our initiatives that you can get involved in this summer either by attending as a participant or getting involved as a helper. See you on the street!


Where They Meet: Indigenous Activism and City Planning in Winnipeg, MB (Jason Syvixay’s Master’s Thesis)

Hi there!

My name is Jason Syvixay, a Master of City Planning (MCP) graduate student in the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture. Recently, I attended Meet Me At The bell Tower and had the distinct pleasure to meet many of the participants involved with this initiative and to introduce my thesis work.

Before proceeding with my research inquiry, I met and discussed with organizers of AYO and Meet Me At The Bell Tower to understand how my research may be supportive and generative for future organizing and mobilizing work.

As part of my research design, secondary source analysis, ethnography/observation, and semi-structured interviews will be employed. With the assistance of Meet Me At The Bell Tower organizers, I will participate in many of the upcoming weekly gatherings to take notes and to meet with prospective interviewees. If you have participated in Meet Me At The Bell Tower in the past and would like to serve as a key informant in my research, I would love to hear from you. For your privacy and confidentiality, before interviews may be scheduled, forms of consent will need to be reviewed and signed. Please get in touch either by contacting Meet Me At The Bell Tower organizers or me by email at syvixay3@myumanitoba.ca. Thank you! I am looking forward to hearing from you!


Below is brief project information:

Project Title: Where They Meet: Indigenous Activism and City Planning in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Researcher: Jason Syvixay, Department of City Planning, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba
Research Advisor: Dr. Rae Bridgman, University of Manitoba
Thesis Committee (Internal/External): Dr. Jino Distasio, University of Winnipeg; Jeff Palmer, Catapult Community Planning

Background: In Winnipeg, Indigenous activists are finding and/or creating new opportunities to meet in public space to discuss civic issues like safety, inclusion, and the right to land. Through physical resistance (i.e. Indigenous activists occupying public space through blockades, protest, and public demonstrations), Indigenous activists have begun to make known their varying political, economic, and social struggles ─ and in many cases, are rallying both public and media support.

This practicum will explore Indigenous activism, leading to lessons for planners and others. Instead of maintaining a critical distance from these demonstrations, which can often create feelings of alienation within the Indigenous community, I assert that planners and others can view these public actions as offering opportunities for feedback, dialogue, and change. Through a case study of Meet Me At The Bell Tower, I hope to demonstrate how Indigenous activism in public spaces may represent an important bottom-up, community-based approach to public engagement.

AYO Politix #PDbyELXN17 Brain Storm Schedule

Kevin Chief, MLA for Point Douglas, has resigned. This means that in the next few months a by-election will be called and we at AYO Politix are going to be busy. As far as we can tell, the provincial riding of Point Douglas will be the only riding in the province to participate in the coming by election. The boundaries are  roughly Church Ave / The Red River / CP Tracks / Sinclair + South Point Douglas and has a population of approx 20,000 according to Elections Manitoba website.


Provincial Riding of Point Douglas (Elections Manitoba Website)

Recently, the AYO Politix crew was able to gather and determine what topics we were hoping to focus on in the coming by election. These topics will inform the speed round questions we form and will help urban Indigenous young people who are interested in this process, to ask informed and focused questions of provincial jurisdiction. We will also be hosting each of the candidates at their own brain storm as well as an all candidates forum, open to the public on local economic development. All of our events will be hosted inside of locally owned businesses or at indigenous led community organizations. Our Schedule of topics is below, with the guests and locations are to be determined.

AYO Politix #PDbyELXN17 Brain Storm Schedule

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Jan 28 / Economic Development & Job Creation
Feb 4 / Child Welfare
Feb 11 / 24/7 Services
Feb 18 / Health & Wellness
Feb 25 / Housing & Safety
Mar 4 / Justice
Mar 11 / Education
Mar 18 / “Reconciliation”
Mar 25 / Urban Sustainability

All urban Indigenous young people are invited to attend our events in an environment where questions can be asked and solutions proposed. Our brain storms are open to community, but we ask attendees to be aware of creating space for urban Indigenous young people. We look forward to the coming election and working with all candidates to ensure the citizens of Point Douglas are afforded every opportunity to be informed about the candidates, their parties, their platforms and their commitments to our neighbourhood, win or lose.

You can find the details and locations of all our Brain Storms on our publicly view-able Facebook Events Page.

Bell Tower Fifth Anniversary Highlights Young Leaders This Friday

On Friday November 18th 2016 at 6:00pm at the corner of Selkirk Avenue & Powers Street, Meet Me at the Bell Tower will be celebrating five years of weekly anti violence community building and highlighting the examples of some of our amazing young leaders!


We will be meeting at the Bell Tower, hearing from the youth, ringing the bell and going for a march around the community. We will hear from Shania Pruden, fresh off the We Day stage, Atticus McIlraith who is kicking off his Winnipeg Harvest Baby Formula Drive and Ramona Harper, a youth leader in the Bell Tower Family since we began in 2011 will share what bell tower means to me.

Bell Tower Birthday Wishes


Support…So Far

So far many people are supporting us! We will be doing a media interview on Global TV on Friday morning, POP Entertainment and Management are helping us get our decorations and certificates, volunteers will be doing face-painting and there will be food! We also have a very special cake and 200 cupcakes on the menu. If you have any way you would like to support in some way please let us know via social media or email us at info [at] ayomovement [dot] com. Feel free to RSVP on Facebook and share our poster with your networks!


But wait! There’s more! Check out this poster from Atticus on the Baby Formula drive he is launching at our birthday!


Welcome Back Bell Tower (Oct 14th)

Join the Meet Me at the Bell Tower Family as we come together on Friday October 14th and once more connect with our relatives from the Newcomer and Muslim communities with our WELCOME BACK event.


Last year we worked together with many groups and agencies and will be once more connecting with the several organizations within both the Muslim and newcomer community to celebrate all that we have in common. Please save the date and time of October 14th from 6pm to 8pm at the North End Bell Tower (470 Selkirk Avenue – the Indigenous Family Centre) and keep an eye on our facebook page for more announcements!

Link here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1085882861508137/

Opportunities with AYO – Saturday August 27th 2016

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This Saturday is going to be a busy day for the AYO crew! there are 3 events in the village that are happening focusing on community building, reviving traditional ceremony and addressing systemic racism in our food situations locally and abroad. We are sharing this information because some of the events have overlapping time (so you may have to be in more than one place at a time). Find below 3 opportunities in Winnipeg, this Saturday


We Are One & Community BBQ in Elmwood (10am-3:30pm)

Join us along with the Elmwood Community Resource Centre, Manitoba Islamic Association, Chalmers NEighbourhood Renewal Corportatipon and Together- In-Elmwood Parent Child Coalition as we celebrate the diversity in Elmwood and surrounding communities. We are inviting individuals and families to join the conversations on important topics of unity and inclusion. Topics discussed will include strengthening relationships, cross cultural understanding and community building. Activities for kids, child minding is provided and a chance to register for a sweat lodge will be available. No need to register, just show up from 10am to 3:30pm at 180 Poplar Ave. Call 204-982-1720 (ext 203) for more information!


Youth Pipe Ceremony (3pm to 4:30pm)

Join us as we pray in the Turtle Island field with our community  for hope and for our young people. Led by pipe carrier Ninoondawah Richard, all pipe carriers and community members are invited to sit with us as we bring ceremony to the street – or in this case the field. We will be IN THE FIELD between Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre (510 King St) and David Livingstone Elementary School on Flora. We are encouraging community members who are able to bring food so we can feast after the ceremony.


THE FOOD FIRE: 13 Fires Winnipeg feat Nor’West Community Co-op (2 – 6:30pm)

13 Fires Winnipeg brings community together to talk about the impacts of racism on different areas of our lives and, more importantly, how we can work towards greater racial inclusion and social inclusion. This is the 9th of our thirteen gatherings in 2016 and will focus on food and food security. Do you have any ideas on how we can address food deserts in Winnipeg? How can we respect indigenous food sovereignty? Come on down to 61 Tyndall Avenue unit 103 from 2pm to 6:30pm.

Stopping Violence in Person


Bell Tower Art by John Luis Valentim (2012)

You are walking down the street. You hear a commotion around the corner and when you get there, you see 2 full grown adults engaged in a  fight.One person on the ground, the other on top feeding them punches. There are about 15 other adults watching and encouraging the fight to continue.

What would you do?

A) Do nothing, not your fight

B) Tell them to stop fighting, at least you said something, or

C) Walk up to them cautiously, separate the 2 fighting, create a barrier of 4 helpers in between the offending parties, and begin to de-escalate the conflict with conversation on both sides

Guess which one we did today?

That’s right option C. Was it the safest option? No. Was it the smartest option? No. Was it the only thing we as citizens could do in that moment to stop the violence while adults encouraged it in an area where children frequent? Yes. We share this with all of you to ask this question:

What would you do?