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“Lead You Home: celebrating Canada’s 150th”
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“Lead You Home: celebrating Canada’s 150th”

Canada’s 150th anniversary was an opportunity for Hasna Syed, 22, a Correspondent from Toronto, Canada, to collaborate on an artistic project that would reflect her view of the country’s achievements and values.

July 1st 2017 was not just another Canada Day, but one that marked our country’s 150th anniversary.

Celebrations were held throughout the year and, still continue, to commemorate the Canadian Confederation, created 150 years ago. The Sesquicentennial festivities are meant to celebrate our country’s various achievements including Canadian art, literature, sport, and most importantly, its people.

Following the success of our song, Champions, written for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in 2015, we, DEYSofficial, were excited about the opportunity to write an original song and create a music video for Canada to symbolize its diversity, inclusiveness, and sense of home.

After months of writing lyrics, recording, and filming, we released our song and music video, Lead You Home! The aim of the song and video was to unite Canadians in celebration of our country’s Sesquicentennial and strengthen feelings of patriotism and togetherness, focusing particularly on young people. We also wanted to highlight Canada’s diversity – especially through young people, dance, and sport  – and had so much fun throughout the whole creative experience.

To illustrate the ‘magic’ of being Canadians, we reached out to as many people and communities as possible. Videographer Jonny Delgado brought our vision to life, while our talented friend Aaron Dumpala, our parents, and all our friends, and community members, were enthusiastic participants of this exciting project! Since the release of our music video, we have received lots of positive support from Canadians across the country. It’s been a wonderful feeling that demonstrates the unity that exists within our country – unity we intended to showcase through the initiative.

Some of our favourite scenes in the music video illustrate cultural dances including African, Indian, and Scottish Highland dancing performed by young people. We loved displaying the power of the performing arts, its versatility, and openness to interpretation. In addition to some fantastic dance moves, we also wanted to incorporate the strong sense of togetherness exhibited by sports. When thinking about Canadian sports the first one to come to mind is hockey, of course! We had a great time filling up the arena to play, watch, and cheer for a game of our country’s national winter sport. It was awesome to bring together, connect, and celebrate with so many people.

It’s worth mentioning that Canada’s 150th Anniversary has also been bittersweet, with some people consciously not partaking in celebrations due to our country’s difficult history with its Indigenous people. This is understandable. Others, however, believe there’s still a way to celebrate Canada Day and Canada’s 150th while recognizing our country’s history through acknowledgement of stolen land, suffering, and injustices.

In that same vein, the Canada 150 celebrations can be used as an opportunity to look ahead in a more positive light. We must accept our reality, acknowledge the past and commit towards making successful reconciliation. We can also celebrate the past and current achievements of Canadians from all walks of life. Although historical problems have not been solved, recognizing Canada’s history, as well as its current affairs, is taking a step forward in the right direction.

We envisioned our song and music video to represent this forward direction and hope for the future of our country. We wanted to highlight and bring together youth to show that young people are a part of the present and the future. We can pave the way ahead for our country and strengthen our path through solidarity. Lead You Home seeks to celebrate Canada’s 150 years of achievement and the good that Canadians continue to achieve through solidarity, empathy, and hope for a brighter future. Like so many others, we are proud to be Canadian, and to call this beautiful country, home.

“Lead you Home” is available on every streaming platform including Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music, and the video has been shared on YouTube as well. You can view the music video here: Lead You Home

Photo credit: Lead You Home, videographer Jonny Delgado, courtesy of Hasna Syed

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About me: I am a Master’s student at the London School of Economics & Political Science, a singer and a youth activist. Together with  my siblings Hana, Sarah and Bilal, I sing professionally as DEYS and have written and performed issue-based songs. Hana, Sarah and Bilal also helped co-author this article.

Currently, our siblings group DEYS has a song featured with the ILO’s Music Against Child Labour Initiative. Collaborating with my sister Hana, we founded the non-profit organization, Global Youth Impact (GYI).

Contact us at Global Youth Impact or follow us on Twitter @GlobalYouthImp

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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