I was raised by teachers. My mother taught Special Education back in the Philippines. Every day after school, we offer our home to support learning disabled children. It felt familiar yet so awe-inspiring. Then my mom flew in Canada as a Live-in Caregiver for two years, until she was able to sponsor our family July 2018. In Toronto, I have found my calling with The Neighbourhood Organization – in helping newcomers and migrant workers. We launched a newcomer youth program tackling issues like literacy and personalized learning. Last May of 2019, I was invited to be the Youth Ambassador for World Literacy Foundation.
How Knowing Generational Slang, Code, and Memes Can Change Lives
Through my intersectional position in Canada as first generation Filipino immigrant, I have the privilege to be part of two different realities. Not only will this allow me to raise awareness in addressing how literacy affects lives and societies in a wider scale, being a part of the Youth Ambassador Program is an advocate in itself to the impact of the possibilities of youth-led innovations. But also, my position has given me the privilege to be part of a diaspora. My presentation will revolve hand in hand with a) World Literacy Foundation and Sun Books technology, b) Youth Ambassador Program of the World Literacy Foundation, and c) how design and diaspora connects the immigrant community of Canada and helps improve the development of functional literacy
Global issues including illiteracy — with the wide networking strength of the youth collective — can only be tackled so much. This is when diaspora and design comes into play. Diaspora connects communities and builds empathy despite cultural differences. Design through technologies i.e. Sun Books and digital publication materials that promote literacy transcend language, and forward the movement of eradicating global illiteracy.
Language is a universal medium for literacy. Transcendental. But also relative. Being aware — at the very least open — to the dynamic changes of language ultimately teaches us unconditional empathy, in which we learn to speak the thoughts and acknowledge the needs of one another. It transcends barriers. Barriers of race, generation, and culture.
In today’s world, everyone is able to send out a massive load of information in one platform, the internet. People from anywhere can find their communities, reconnect with one another, build smaller groups, and seek out people with shared interests. Within those groups, a shared language is formed, exclusive to that group. With the internet’s wide scope, many shared languages and information are accessible to everyone else, where miscommunication is inevitable. Not to say that memes are the one way ticket to understanding everyone’s languages, but that accepting that language changes for everyone all the time in various ways means taking that step to diminish the barrier that prevents us from understanding one another.
In reading, the writer transmits a message to the reader, hoping it is received. But what good will merely reading do if I speak a language you refuse to think?
Through this presentation, we explore these facets to dig deeper on how reading can truly change lives, taken from a personal and cognizant narrative.