Every child in Canada should enjoy the same rights. That includes being able to grow up healthy, receive a good education and feel proud of who they are. Sadly for many First Nations children those rights are not assured. Have a Heart Day, which takes place on February 14th, aims to shine a light on those inequities. This child and youth-led reconciliation campaign brings together caring Canadians to help ensure First Nations children have the services they need and that so many other children living in our country currently enjoy.
On February 15th in support of Have a Heart Day, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and youth from schools across the National Capital region will join together on Parliament Hill to show their support for equitable culturally-based services that will help them to succeed. Last year more than 700 students from 20 different schools, as well as hundreds of other supporters, gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to promote love and fairness for First Nations children in celebration of Have a Heart Day. The event on Parliament Hill was supported by more than 70 events across the country and at least 6500 Valentine letters of support were sent to elected officials across Canada.
In Eastern Ontario, the Family Well-Being Program of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte will hold a free community breakfast on February 16th from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Mohawk Community Centre in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in support of Have a Heart Day. Everyone is welcome and attendees are asked to sign a letter of support for First Nations children which will then be mailed to the Prime Minister. Staff of Highland Shores Children’s Aid are joining in signing a letter of support.
Commenting on Have a Heart Day, Mark Kartusch, Executive Director of Highland Shores Children’s Aid said, “This initiative brings Canadians together to speak up on behalf of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and families. While changes seem to be starting to go in a better direction, inequality remains for Indigenous children in Ontario and the rest of Canada. Together our voices can help to bring about positive change that can lead to greater equality. We encourage our local community members to attend the breakfast in Tyendinaga on February 16th and to lend their name to a letter of support to be sent to our elected representatives.”
To learn more about how you can get involved in Have a Heart Day visit the website www.fncaringsociety.com. To attend the free community breakfast on February 16th at the Mohawk Community Centre in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory contact:
Tracey Gazley, Family Well-Being Program Co-ordinator
Skennen, Ka’nikonhriyo, Ka’satstenhsera, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte