Workshops & Affinity Groups


The You Belong Summit will host a variety of workshops. Attendees are able to attend two workshops in the morning and an affinity group session in the afternoon.

The registered workshops include:

  • Whose Land is This? - Treaties, Land Acknowledgements and Indigenous Solidarity

  • Who Are You? Identifying Your Identity

  • Call In and Call Out

  • Break Down the Language Barrier

  • The Next Step: Being a Leader of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at School

  • Allyship VS Saviourism - Is My Activism Genuine?

  • How We Lead Our Affinity Group

  • The Asian Model Minority Myth

  • Microaggressions: Small Comments with a Big Effect

  • The Complicated Nature of Being Mixed Race

  • Western Beauty Standards & How it Impacts Us

  • Code-Switching: Living as a Chameleon

  • White Privilege and Fragility

Whose Land is This? - Treaties, Land Acknowledgements and Indigenous Solidarity

Lead by: Shreya (she/her)

University of Toronto Schools, Ontario

Description: How many times have you heard a land acknowledgement that was empty words with no meaning? I’ve seen them countless times over the past few years but I’ve also seen some really powerful and meaningful ones. So what makes for a good land acknowledgement? Why do we even do them? In this workshop you will get the chance to start answering some of these questions and begin to explore Indigenous issues, land acknowledgements, treaties and Indigenous solidarity. By the end of the workshop you will have an understanding of our responsibilities as treaty members and of how to develop meaningful land acknowledgements.

Here are the slides to this workshop.

Who Are You? Identifying Your Identity

Lead by: Tegan (she/her/they)

Elmwood School, Ontario

Description: Who are you? How do you choose to identify? All questions that we ask ourselves but cannot always answer. I believe that exploring your identity is a journey that everyone goes through, but no one really talks about and in my opinion, this is something that needs to change. The aim of the workshop will be to help normalize conversations surrounding identity as well as creating a really comfortable space for people to speak about what identity means to them. The workshop will be mainly discussion based with a chance for the students to share both anonymously and publicly, using padlets, to ensure that everyone is heard. This workshop aims to leave you more at peace with your identity by showing you that you are not alone in this journey. I can’t promise an answer to all your questions, but I can do my best to help you explore some possible answers and make you as comfortable as possible while we are doing it.

Here are the slides to this workshop.

Call In and Call Out

Lead by: Victoria (she/her), Gracie (she/her), Omira (she/her), Regan (she/her)

Bishop Strachan School, Ontario

Description: Our objective in this workshop is to help others navigate difficult conversations surrounding racist and discriminatory comments. We want to focus on standing up for yourself or others in ways that are effective and meaningful. As highschoolers, we live in a time when it is crucial to hold our community members accountable for their actions and words. We know that having these discussions can be awkward or uncomfortable, but they are imperative to the growth of the community and the healing of marginalized groups. Through interactive activities and discussions, we will collectively build up our skills to get through these situations effectively.

Break Down the Language Barrier

Lead by: Amy (she/her)

St. John’s School, British Columbia

Description: One of the most important skills one could acquire in life is the skill to communicate and support each one and another. While very little language and racial tolerance had been accepted in the past, our mindsets have ultimately shifted, now, to value people of all different backgrounds as equal.

The workshop targets those who wish to assist those struggling with language barriers. A personal story will be shared of how I, an Asian immigrant overcame the English language barrier, including the obstacles I faced, as well as the things I wished others could have done for me. Through this workshop, I hope to inform students on ways to support others in their language learning journey and lastly, to emphasize the importance of being inclusive regardless of one's cultural background.

Here are the slides to this workshop.

The Next Step: Being a Leader of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at School

Lead by: Naila (she/her)

Bishop Strachan School, Ontario

Description: What do leaders look like? This workshop aims to equip participants with the tools necessary to be leaders of DEI in their school communities. Discussion topics include examining your school’s contribution to DEI, your role in DEI at school, and how to actively champion your community’s spectrum of identities. Participants will engage in activities of self-reflection, leadership competence, and action planning.

Allyship VS Saviourism - Is My Activism Genuine?

Lead by: Emmy (she/they)

Bishop Strachan School, Ontario

Description: In this workshop, attendees will engage in a discussion about what it means to be an ally, how to engage in effective allyship and how to challenge any complexes that have been ingrained in us. We will take a deep dive into ourselves and our beliefs, and how they play a role in our activism by assessing a multitude of factors that influence our role in the fight against discrimination. The line between allyship and saviourism is sometimes hard to navigate, but in order to exist as a productive ally it is essential to take a critical look at the differences between the two and acknowledge any flaws in our own activism in order to move forward.

How We Lead Our Affinity Group

Lead by: Zoie (she/her), Sloan (she/her)

Bishop Strachan School, Ontario

Description: This workshop will discuss how to create an inclusive and comfortable environment for all students to participate and share their thoughts in. Our key goal for every meeting is to give one lesson or takeaway to reflect upon during this challenging time. Planned activities along with initiatives keep engagement while meeting virtually. This workshop will share experiences as co-heads of an affinity group for those looking to start one in the future.

The Asian Model Minority Myth

Lead by: Betty (she/her)

West Point Grey Academy, British Columbia

Description: The model minority myth suggests that some minorities, most prominently Asian-Americans, are inherently more successful and academically-inclined than the general population. The myth is perpetuated by the generalization that all Asians are naturally smart, filial, and reserved hard-workers, who have earned their place as “successful immigrants.” Despite these seemingly positive descriptions, those stereotypes often serve to justify racism against the Asian community and support the false belief that, with “hard work like Asians,” all immigrants and minorities can find success in the societies that have discriminated and oppressed them for centuries.

This workshop will discuss the various nuances of the model minority myth including, but not limited to: the influence of Confucian family values, academic pressures, and the erasure of unique, individual experiences. Participants will first be given a slideshow presentation that describes the myth and common misconceptions about “model minorities,” and then participate in an open discussion in sharing opinions and personal experiences.

Here are the slides to this workshop.

Microaggressions: Small Comments with a Big Effect

Lead by: Maria (she/her)

Rundle College, Alberta

Description: In this workshop, attendees will be learning all about microaggressions and their subcategories. We will discuss a bit about implicit bias and connect it to microaggressions. Participants can expect discussions about our experiences with microaggressions as well as ideas to mitigate implicit bias. We will then talk about how to respond when we see or experience or cause microaggressions. In addition to this, we will then talk about dilemmas about speaking up and also the impact that microaggressions have on us. Overall, the main objective is to empower the participants to recognize microaggressions and identify strategies to mitigate these aggressions while addressing our own implicit biases.

The Complicated Nature of Being Mixed Race

Lead by: Lea (she/her) and Annika (she/her)

Rundle College, Alberta

Description: Whether you are mixed race or come from a single type of heritage, this session will open your eyes to new perspectives, contexts, and stories about being a part of multiple racial groups. We will explore the aspects that make this unique situation difficult, but also what makes it amazing. You will have tons of fun during the session, and leave much more thoughtful and informed than you were before. Join us for new perspectives, information about mixed groups in history, as well as interactive games and discussions to understand where we come from and what it means. Target audience: People of mixed heritage, as well as anyone who wants to learn!

Western Beauty Standards & How it Impacts Us

Lead by: Shiloh (she/her) and Eugenie (she/her)

St. Clement's School, Ontario

Description: Everyday, as a society we seem to broaden the meaning of the word “beauty”. A lot of the time, when we think of beauty we think of the typical blonde haired, skinny, blue eyed female or male, also known as the western beauty standard. But, as we continue to break beauty standards, we must ask ourselves, how do we successfully break beauty standards without bringing down any race, culture, or anyone's identity?

As two young white passing but not fully white teenagers, we found it difficult to see ourselves as beautiful growing up in predominantly white environments. We know exactly what it feels like to be going through identity issues and the struggle of finding your inner peace and love for yourself. We know the importance of finding your beauty and the power that it holds, and we want to help guide you in realizing that beauty is truly subjective.

Code-Switching: Living as a Chameleon

Lead by: Danni (she/her)

Bishop Strachan School, Ontario

Description: What is code-switching? What effects can it have on BIPOC mental health? In this workshop, you will learn about the history of code-switching, the toll it takes on a person, why BIPOC feels the need to code-switch in everyday life and real examples.

White Privilege and Fragility

Lead by: Lily (she/her)

Lakefield College School, Ontario

Description: Why is it so hard for white people to talk about race? Why do white people erupt in defensiveness? What is white people's role in dismantling systemic racism? How can white people support social justice movements, like Black Lives Matter, without taking the microphone away from marginalized groups? We'll be exploring all of these questions and more in this workshop: White Privilege and Fragility.

Affinity Groups

An affinity group is a group of people linked by a common interest, purpose or identifier. When people spend time in affinity groups, they feel safe, validated, empowered and connected to people who are similar to them in some way. The core cultural identifiers include sexual orientation, age, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and family structure. For the purposes of the YouBelong conference, the affinity groups will be organized by race. For the sake of ensuring large enough groups to have meaningful conversation, the affinity groups offered at You Belong will include:

  • Black and African Heritage

  • Asian (East Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islanders, Central Asians)

  • Bi/Multiracial

  • White, European Awareness and Accountability

  • General POC*

These groups can be sub-divided accordingly.

*If you do not see your identity above, we sincerely apologize for our inability to accommodate for your affinity group. Due to the lack of attendees, we are unable to create more specific POC groups and we understand how this can be quite frustrating to you. We acknowledge your disappointment but still encourage you to join the general POC affinity group to connect with other students of similar identities.