#CoDYouthLeads: Rebecca’s story

As a young Canadian of Haitian origin, Rebecca knows both the ‘in-between cultures’ feeling as well as the value of diversity. In her story, she shares her thoughts on why democracy needs multiple diverse voices and highlights how the Warsaw Declaration protects pluralism and diversity, regardless of people’s age, race, or gender.

“When we hear multiple voices we get closer to democracy – why diverse young voices are needed”-  Rebecca Joachim, Canada.


What pushed me towards social justice? What made me value engagement so much? I’ve been thinking about it for days now, and my mind kept going back to my faith and to the words of the Old Testament prophet in Isaiah 1 :17 : “Learn to do good and seek justice.’

This most significant Bible verse and its philosophy is something I lean on these last couple of years of my life. The pursuit of justice has been a quest for me in every article I wrote, in every leadership program I took part in, in every workshop I gave; basically in every project I started. I was seeking justice and thought it could be achieved if every voice was heard through democracy.

The first Warsaw Declaration principle states that the will of the people should be the basis of the authority of government, elected during fair and free elections. In Principle Three, the Warsaw Declaration also highlights the right of every person to equal protection of the law, without any discrimination as to race, color, sex, language, national or social background, or other status. The Warsaw Declaration speaks to the right of every person to equal access to public service to conduct public affairs. Every voice heard.

The privilege to be a Canadian citizen allowed me to become engaged in public life. But wanting to get engaged can be hard when you don’t have a sense of belonging to the place you live.

As a young black woman and daughter of two Haitians, I am familiar with the feeling. The ‘in-between culture’ sentiment can make you feel you do not belong anywhere.

The thing is: if you are here, you belong. Your voice deserves to be heard regardless of your race, color, sex, religion, or otherwise. In fact, your voice deserves to be heard because of your race, color, sex, religion, and otherwise. “The right of every person to freedom of opinion and expression” states the Warsaw Declaration.

I make sure my voice is heard every time I take the microphone to record a new episode of my podcast. I make sure I am listened to every time I write a tweet, a blog post, or a journal article. I make sure I am being heard every time I speak in front of an audience, during the conferences I give in schools, or whenever I want to make a statement during political activities. Every time I raise my voice, I pray I inspire someone else to raise theirs.

When multiple voices are heard,  we get closer to democracy.  That is why diverse young voices are needed. And it is when we value real democracy that we get closer to justice.