We Day Vancouver celebrates youth community involvement

Avril Lavigne hits the stage for We Day 2013. Photo by Hillary Nguyen-Don.

Avril Lavigne hits the stage for We Day 2013. Photo by Hillary Nguyen-Don.

The sixth We Day took the stage at Rogers Arena on October 18 and featured an all-star line up of speakers and live performances.

Hosted by MTV’s Aliya-Jasmine Sovani and Scott Willats, big names in Canadian music included Avril Lavigne, Hedley, and Down With Webster.

Roughly 20,000 students from as far away as the Yukon came down to We Day Vancouver to celebrate.

But this was not all about the rock stars: Students attendees celebrated their own accomplishments – giving back to local and international communities through volunteer work.

The Harbour Dance Company pays tribute to the late Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo by Hillary Nguyen-Don.

The Harbour Dance Company pays tribute to the late Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo by Hillary Nguyen-Don.

The show had an interesting addition to the usual We Day line up, this year’s event coincided with the 50-year anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

For this occasion, dancers of the Harbour Dance Company performed a number to a remixed version of “I Have a Dream”.

Martin Luther King III was also there to speak about his father’s legacy and to discuss Free the Children, a human and children’s rights foundation.

“[His parents] would be involved with the Free the Children” movement if they were alive today,” said Martin Luther King III.

Free the Children founders Craig and Marc Kielburger also announced the launch of a new app called We365 for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.

The app is also accessible on a desktop computer. We365 allows young people to track the causes they care about, and keep up with tasks from Free the Children, according to the Kielburger brothers.

Craig Kielburger discussed the child-friendly safety aspects of the app, such as keeping location services off-limits to children under 13.

Other speakers included BC Premier Christy Clark, who  took to the stage to honour the memory of Terry Fox and his accomplishments.

National Chief of the Assembly of First Nation’s Shawn Atleo discussed the visibility of the First Nations community in Canada and how their issues can be addressed.

Molly Burke, a visually impaired motivational speaker who speaks out against bullying, and advocates the power of words.

Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations/Nobel Peace Laureate urged young people to have their voices heard, and lead the way.

Many in the crowd noted that it was hard to walk away from We Day 2013 without feeling inspired.

Dancers join Avril Lavigne onstage to close the show. Photo by Hillary Nguyen-Don.

Dancers join Avril Lavigne onstage to close the show. Photo by Hillary Nguyen-Don.