Happy Holidays from YEU to YOU!

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There are many important days of observance during the month of December.  We start the month with World Aids Day December 1, observe a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women December 6, celebrate International Human Rights Day on December 10th, the winter solstice December 21st and of course Christmas Day December 25th. While many of these days are quietly noted and honored privately with our families, we at YEU have been thankful for the opportunity to join in community observation a few times this month.

The December 6th ceremony in the Elijah Smith Building, honoring the women killed at Montreal’s École Polytechnique in 1989 was moving and powerful. As a community, we pledged to work harder to change the narrative and keep Yukon’s women safe.  Thank you to the PSAC Regional Women’s Committee for your work and efforts to support not just this event, but the continued commitment to women of the north.

International Human Rights Day was observed at YEU through our Human Rights Speaker Series. This four-day event offered informal presentations over the noon hour from December 9th through 12th, covering topics reflecting human rights & social justice issues. We thank everyone who spoke, and all who came to listen and question, learn and challenge. Again we wish to thank the PSAC Pride Committee, whose event featuring Chase Blodgett added much to the week. Chase Blodgett’s presentation on navigating legislation as a Yukon trans man was informative, offering us an invitation to think about gender and social interaction very differently.

We capped off a week of talking (and listening and eating!) with a wonderful Free Family Skate at the Canada Games Centre. For the third year we invited anyone and everyone to strap on a pair of skates, sip some hot chocolate courtesy of the PSAC Regional Youth Committee, and enjoy a stress free family afternoon. We were delighted to see the highest turnout ever, with all ages enjoying a chance to spend time together.

As we wind down (wind up?)  to Christmas, we enjoyed a chance to do some good for the Salvation Army’s residents and guests. Saturday December 20th started very early, with an 8am call at Superstore. There, volunteers loaded carts and boxes with all the fixings for the Salvation Army’s traditional Christmas dinner. 15 turkeys, pounds and pounds of carrots, potatoes and onions, stuffing and treats were delivered before the sun was up on the last Saturday before Christmas.  This shopping expedition has happened annually for more than 10 years, PSAC Area Council’s ongoing commitment to the community.

We want to wish you and your family every happiness this holiday season. We hope that 2015 brings happiness and prosperity to our members and our communities. From all of us at YEU to all of YOU, happy holidays!

YEU Human Rights Speaker Series 2014

We are very excited to announce this year’s Human Rights Speaker Series. December 9-12 we offer noon hour presentations addressing human rights & social justice issues which impact our communities every day.  Please join us for lunch as we explore these topics with panelists who really understand the issues.

December 9: Dating Violence: Red Flags & Resources

This discussion will focus on the reality of violent teen and young adult relationships.  We’ll hear some statistics, consider some red flags and talk about what resources exist in our community. How do you tell if your relationship is healthy? What do you do when a friend is in trouble or you suspect your friend is a bad date?  We welcome an outreach worker from the RCMP, a youth worker from BYTE and a representative of the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre.

December 10: Housing & Homelessness: What’s at stake, what can we do?

The effects of precarious housing are far reaching. Homelessness is not exclusive to those we deem hard to house, and it affects people across our societal spectrum. We welcome your input in a discussion of the challenge of homelessness. This is not a problem that affects only those who struggle with homelessness; a community that can’t offer its citizens safe and affordable housing cannot grow to its full potential. We’ll have Kate Mechan, an expert from the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Charlotte Hrenchuk of the Yukon Status of Women Council and the insight of a Whitehorse resident who has lived the experience of being without secure housing.

December 11: Who Feeds Us? Yukon Farmers, Yukon Food!                                                       2014 has been named “Year of the Family Farm” by the United Nations.

Food Security is a buzz phrase we hear often, especially when a highway goes out or a truck breaks down on its way to us; Yukoners depend heavily on food from “away”.  There is a growing movement toward improved sustainability and local production. We welcome pioneer organic farmer, Yukon’s Farmer of the Year for 2014, Mary Girouard of Rivendell Farms.  Tom & Simone Rudge of Aurora Mountain Farms will also be at the table.  As well as his efforts at the family farm, Tom Rudge is a passionate advocate for a GMO Free Yukon, while Simone’s research at the Yukon College’s Northern Research Greenhouse will inform Yukon agriculture for many seasons to come. Matt Ball  is a professional agrologist with the Yukon Government Agriculture Branch. He works closely with many of the farmers in the territory on aspects of soils, fertilizers, growing conditions, research, and market opportunities.  Matt has spent most of his life in the Yukon and drives to help build the agriculture industry so we have local food on our plates and a diversified economy.

December 12: Strong Women Take the Lead

We invite you to a great round table chat with some strong women leading the way. Whitehorse United Church Minister Bev Brazier, Kate White, MLA for Takhini-Kopper King, Educator & advocate for aboriginal youth Marilyn Jensen, and entrepreneur & community leader Patti Balsillie and  will share some of their experiences and ideas on leadership for women. Each representing entirely different types of leadership, we look forward to an interesting and active discussion.

These events are FREE & open to everyone. Seating is limited as our meeting room has a capacity of 45. We are pleased to offer a complimentary simple lunch each day provided by the Bird House Bakery.  If you have any questions please call us at 667-2331.

If you plan to bring a group PLEASE let us know in advance so we can ensure there is adequate seating available.

All presentations will take place in the YEU Hall, Lucy Jackson Training Room downstairs.  Please, join the event on Facebook and we’ll see you there!