CARICOM Youth Ambassadors’ Message – Caribbean Youth Day
The theme of this year’s Caribbean Youth Day is Vision 2020: Caribbean Youth, Crafting One Vision, a statement that highlights our youth’s commitment to furthering the goal of regional integration. Although this day is one of celebration, this year, it comes in the midst of a time when many young people are encountering life-altering consequences because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past few months, the world has undergone unprecedented events. The upheaval has spared almost no one and many have been affected in some way by the pandemic. Our region’s youth have faced numerous challenges – some short term and others that will have lasting effects. The turmoil has also widened the gap even more for our most vulnerable young people – those with disabilities or pre-existing conditions; those who are not safe in their own homes due to domestic violence and child abuse; individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS; the homeless and unsheltered; members of marginalized communities and those living in poverty or financial instability. In many ways, the situation is dire and many lives have been irreversibly altered.
Yet, amid the chaos and uncertainty that have been an almost constant force for most of the year, Caribbean young people are displaying resilience, creativity, resourcefulness, and cohesiveness. We are living up to the theme chosen for this year’s day of celebration: unity. We are using our talents to develop new ways to connect with each other, from learning and knowledge-sharing sessions such as webinars and conferences to leisure activities in the form of games and parties. We have come together to help each other navigate and excel in this new world. New leaders have emerged, new bonds have been formed, and new milestones have been set and achieved.
As Caribbean youth continue to work together to find innovative ways to come out of this pandemic stronger and better, we are also painting a picture of what the region will be when the younger generation takes our place. We are striving to build our vision of what the Caribbean landscape will look like when our children inherit our life’s work. We continue the fight for regional integration because we understand that our destinies are intertwined and that our ability to grow as a region hinges on our reliance on each other and our ability to join forces.
Happy Caribbean Youth Day 2020!