Sometime in grade 12, in 2008 I launched the Speak Up for Change blog. It started in the early days of ACCESS, as a way to discuss and engage youth in a wider range of social justice issues (both local and global), accepting submissions from youth globally.
The blog has been completely volunteer-run, including various editors and team members throughout the years. It started on good old Blogger, then a high school student built us a WordPress site after a few years. We collected over 2,300 followers on Twitter. We’ve been invited to several events and conferences (including Global Youth Assembly in Alberta) because of Speak Up for Change. We expanded it into a workshop series, which may still continue after the transition.
8 years since the blog first launched (and a decade into our organization), ACCESS has transitioned to helping other youth-led organizations form and make their own impact on the world — and so I decided it is time to pass on the Speak Up for Change blog torch to one of those new organizations.
INKspire is a new non-profit organization that strives to inspire and engage youth (ages 14–29) by providing a dedicated publishing platform where young people can learn from one another, share their stories, thoughts and ideas while connecting with other youth around the world. They hope to encourage youth engagement in current global affairs and provide opportunities for young writers, journalists, and artists to showcase their talents.
To help make this new phase of Speak Up for Change a reality, please contribute to the crowdfunding campaign here. (As a non-profit, any funds INKspire brings in will be reinvested back into improving INKspire).
Each month, INKspire will focus on a topic or issue to be explored through our three platforms: Arts, Social Issues and Science & Innovations. Youth will be able to submit content that align with our monthly topic in a variety of mediums (e.g. article, artwork, poetry, etc.) within three platforms.
Why is this a thing?
Youth lack a dedicated platform to voice their opinions and ideas and are in need of a medium where they can take a stand on issues they care about. The team believes that youth can make a positive contribution to the world by adding unique insights to national and global matters. Not only will young people be able to share their knowledge and express themselves through INKspire, but they will also gain new perspectives and learn from their peers. INKspire will also be a gateway for stakeholders, key leaders and individuals to learn about youth perspectives on different topics and issues.
The founders of this new platform believe the main reason behind the lack of youth voices worldwide is that there are limited opportunities for youth publication. As a result, youth input on important national and global topics are significantly underrepresented in the media. Looking at the major news agencies and publishing platforms of today, we see that the majority, if not all, of them, are written by and catered to an older audience. This is why we created INKspire: to empower youth voices and have their opinions heard and valued by the entire global community.
What it will look like
INKspire is creating a unique and fully integrated technology system that allows users to easily navigate the platform.
What about Speak Up for Change content?
A number of the hundreds of articles from SpeakUpforChange.ca will be transitioned over to the new platform. By Summer 2016, visiting SpeakUpForChange.ca will redirect to the new INKspire website. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!