Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 10 AYO! Moments of 2011

This year was saw AYO turn 1 year old! It saw many of our ideas come into their own, as stand alone initiatives, and the support we have felt from our North End and Winnipeg community has been immense. As is customary for many folks, at the end of a year I like to take a look back and remind myself of what has happened, what has been achieved, what has been learned in the last 12 months. Find below a short summary of the Top 10 AYO Moments of 2011, according to organizer North End MC:

  1. AYO Leadership Meets @ Flipside: The Leadership Team began its inaugural series of meetings to guide the AYO ship. We were able to launch our youtube page and set a clear path for the summer of beefing up some of our ideas. 10 young people came out to get this ish started!
  2. AYO does CBC: our Leadership Team (and our cuzzin Johnny) made CBC history in 2011 with CBC Manitoba’s first ever Tweet-Up. This marriage of social media and radio, live on Up To Speed With Larry Updike allowed Manitobans to pose no holds barred questions to real live aboriginal youth. It was epic.
  3. Get Real Youth Forums (PolitiX): For the May Federal and October provincial elections, our PolitiX initiative was able to organize 2 GET REAL Youth Forums. These allowed young North Enders to pose questions to candidates, and have them answer simply YES/NO as their answer. In addition we were able to create a pre-forum event called GET INFORMED where youth can brainstorm, be educated on issues, and research the political candidates. Shout out to Kevin Chief and Kevin Lameroux on your wins!
  4. Selkirk Avenue Banners (Creative Expressions): Thanks to the leadership of Kale Bonham and partnerships coming out of the woodwork, new Banners are about to be installed on Selkirk Avenue from Main Street to Arlington. We began at Children of the Earth, moved to Ralph Brown Community Centre, engaging NECRC, Selkirk Avenue BIZ, the City of Winnipeg and of course North End youth. The result, as you can see HERE is gonna be slammin!
  5. ARROWS presents … everywhere: This was the year that AYO’s ARROWS took flight. We have been able to partner with several organizations to deliver training sessions to youth workers and youth leaders. We have been able to redevelop our ARROWS Presentation and train additional facilitators. This next year will see us take our youth engagement training as far west as Calgary!
  6. Feasting Our Hand Drum Part 2 (Healing Still Continues): For our 2nd annual Hand Drum Feasting event we partnered with Circle of Life Thunderbird House and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Youth Secretariat. With AMC Youth’s financial contribution. Thunderbird’s use of space, and Ninoondawah’s organizational skills and leadership, our 2nd annual Feasting event went off amazingly. Can’t wait til our 3rd Annual!!
  7. Initiating The FWD: North End Youth Newspaper: this began in the summer and has really taken off. Don't forget to check out for up to the minute info!
  8. Painting Cabin’s with United Way’s Youth Relations Council: for an alternative spring break activity we painted cabins with the United Way of Winnipeg's Youth Relations Council. It was an excellent beginning to a long and helpful relationship!
  9. AYO turns 1 at the BBB: this was an amazing time to celebrate all we had accomplished in our first year of being around. So proud to put together displays and celebrate with friends/family.
  10. Meet Me @ The Bell Tower: Our signature, most impactful initiative to date, has been our MM@BT rallies. Beginning again on January 6th in 2012, we will Stop The Violence in our hood.
Its amazing to think that in one year, with no staff, no building, no formal funding…we have been able to achieve this. Its hip hop genius. Its innovation. Its creativity. This, is leadership, north end style.  AYO! came into existence because youth in our community needed a vehicle of their own to drive…where they could share their ideas and nurture them into existence. Looking back at what has been accomplished in 2011, I realize my dreams have come true with AYO.

But does that mean we slow down? Never! 2012 is looking to be our greatest event yet. With members of our leadership team in the finals for the Future Leaders of Manitoba Award, with ARROWS presentations being booked across the prairies, with members of our group liaising with the United Nations, we are going to make it big. We invite all Aboriginal youth, all North Enders all human beings!!! Join us in the momentum that has swept our community. Bring you friends and stand up.

2012 is the year the North End Rises. I know it.


PS – don’t forget to heck out for MC’s latest post on his 2011 Lessons from the Streetz.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I need to share a small story.

I am certain by now most of you have heard the story of the North End's latest Hero, in 7 year old Faith from Dufferin School. Many community members and residents have been inspired by her courage, and leadership and I believe this has caused many people to become excited about the potential in our youth.


We need to stand together more as a community and I am really proud to see that it really is the children in the North End Leading the way. To further this example, at our Bell Tower marches, a 10 year old boy brought cookies at one rally, inspiring the entire group (of 100 people) to hold a potluck style event in the following week, as support for this young man's leadership. Also, 2 young girls, 11 and 12, have been acting as our parade leaders when we do our marches around the Bell Tower. Finally, a young man who has also been attending the rallies, by the name of Trenton, has made a 30 second video to send his message: STOP THE VIOLENCE!

I want to dedicate this post, to Trenton, and all of the young leaders (under 18, under 14, under 10!!!) in our community that there are at least 250 people (Bell Tower marchers) in this community that will stand behind you, so speak as loud as you need to become as a North a family...On December 6th, at the Bell Tower for the event called STAY FRESH...

We will stand by YOU(th)!

Love, Respect and Courage


PS - if you haven't check out the North End Youth Newspaper The FWD yet...what cha waiting for?!?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

COMING SOON: Selkirk Avenue Banners

This is it people. 22 years later, Selkirk Avenue is about to receive some shiny, fresh youth designed banners from Main Street all the way to Arlington. This project has been in the making for close to a year, and the moment of revelation will come in the first week of 2011 at the Bell Tower.

You can see above what the current situation is of the Banners on our beloved Selkirk Avenue. lameness. These banners are outdated, most are missing, and those that do remain are faded and tattered. This is not the symbol of beauty and hope that I KNOW we deserve in our North End community.

Enter Creative Expressions
So thanks to a little AYO! Idea called Creative Expressions, a weekly opportunity to learn how to express ourselves in creative ways, the new banners are almost here. In February of this year, Student -Teacher Candidate Kale Bonham initiated the project in her classroom at Children of the Earth High School. You can see some examples of celebrating Kale's Leadership below. She shared one simple idea and the ball began to roll...

Kale put together this image of the Arlington Bridge as a way of getting the student's creative juices flowing. They were then invited to the After School CE program where the designs were initiated. Partners were approached and agreed to help including North End Community Renewal Corporation, the Selkirk Avenue BIZ Children of the Earth High School, Ralph Brown Community Centre and the City of Winnipeg. From there, the youth of the North End took control to create some brand new banners for our beautiful community!

What happened next was amazing...

So the AYO/COTE/Ralph Brown youth all decided to work away on this project over the summer and came up with 5 designs that were presented to the Selkirk Avenue BIZ in the fall. It was determined that the 5 images that were selected would go on the lamp posts from Main, to Arlington, beautifying the Selkirk Strip with youth art, and a strong message, that the business community in the North End, stands behind the youth that live here.


There is HOPE for our North End Community. There is beauty here, and strength. Our young people are talented, resilient and gifted. And if you ever come to a place/time where you forget that, just take a stroll down Selkirk Avenue in the New Year...and look up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Standing with the Chiefs

Dear World

My name is Michael Redhead Champagne. I am 24 years old, grew up in the North End of Winnipeg and am originally from Shamattawa Cree Nation. I am writing you this letter because I will not be silent any longer while the young people, elders and children in our communities continue to die. In my position as a leader in my community, I support Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence in her protest of Minister Duncan’s insulting response to the emergency in her community. The deplorable conditions are all too familiar and have recently been highlighted in communities such as the state of emergency in Attawapiskat, the lack of education in Pikangikum, the youth suicides in Shamattawa the missing and murdered Aboriginal sisters and daughters. These conditions are all too familiar on First Nations communities across Canada and our Federal government fails to respond effectively. They respond with irresponsible, scattered and often offensive responses to emergencies, assuming there is any response at all. I think we all remember slop buckets and body bags, more recently mega prisons and fighter jets.

While Canada touts its international horn on its human rights and other such things, aboriginal youth are committing suicide in my community. We even have a museum dedicated to such a cause in our very own city. Meanwhile, so many young people are suffering from something called HOPELESSNESS. I buried one of my kids last month because of this sickness and many stand by watching us die, and kill one another until there will be no one left. And even if we do survive, the political and health and justice and treaty systems will ensure that we shut the hell up.


I am writing this letter to send a message: Aboriginal youth are leaders. We are strong, and we are learning our culture and traditions and we will not be stopped now. We continue to reclaim our languages, protect our children and love our elders. We will continue to work together to stop the corruption, the disrespect and the contempt. We are standing to show that we are willing to act together with our communities as well as other First Nation Leaders across our country to ensure a prosperous future for our young people, and indeed all Canadians.

It can start right now. By simply leaving a comment (or emailing your message to and sharing your support. It can start on Thursday by coming to Lighting Up The Avenue. It can Start Friday At Meet Me @ The Bell Tower. The choices are yours. But I know that the only way we can stop this injustice, is by standing together.

Love, Courage and Respect


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Be The Change & Lighting Up The Avenue

Hey folks!

Thanks so much to all of you who have been reading, and of course, attending the Bell Tower rally's that began just 3 weeks ago. since then over 200 community members have sent a strong message that North Enders are not apathetic.

I have decided to move the factual information that is happening over to the North End Winnipeg Blog. The purpose of that blog is to inform and celebrate the goodness of our community, and that i exactly what it has done.

If you are interested in helping out as a gust blogger on the North End Blog, you certainly can as we need all the help we can get. Check out a clip of the most recent Bell Tower event here...

Meet Me @ The Bell Tower – Be The Change

Meet Me @ The Bell Tower has become an opportunity for us as a North End Community to stand together. These rallies happen on Fridays at the Bell Tower on Selkirk and Powers. The Indian Family Centre has graciously offered to share their space for our bumpin’ After Party, aka a time of celebration and organizing for community action.

Another thing I wanna mention is the 9th annual LUTE (or Lighting Up The Avenue!) Thanks to community partners coming together, we will be celebrating the season in style @ Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre (470 Selkirk Avenue) on Thursday December 8th 2011. We will have food, prizes, an avenue lighting ceremony and who knows...Santa may even pop in!

Tell your families, and bring out the Kids on Thurs for LUTA, and on Friday for Be The Change!

Love, Respect and Awesomeness


Friday, December 2, 2011

Bring Your Vision To The Bell Tower

Have you ever heard of the Merchant's Hotel in the North End of Winnipeg?

Well, the reason I am blogging this is because it is about to become something very needed, and very hopeful in our North End community.  The building is being purchased, and us as North Enders have an opportunity to share our vision with the community coalition. it is being led by NECRC (North End Community Renewal Corporation) the same group that is bringing together North End youth leaders with North End Rising (a North End Youth Council. To better explain I will reference the U of W's Website:
A growing community coalition including the North End Community Renewal Corporation (on behalf of their community partners), Urban Circle Training Centre Inc., The Selkirk Avenue BIZ, Andrews Street Family Centre, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. and The University of Winnipeg Urban and Inner-City Studies program are working to acquire the Merchants Hotel and adjacent lots with ownership transfer slated for April 2012. 
 In any event, there have already been a few community consultations, I was fortunate to attend one. I was able to put forward a couple dreams that I have for Merchant's corner, including a one stop shop for youth resources, and an overnight drop in centre for youth.

We Need YOUR Vision

The time is now for us as a community to come together and share our vision. We will be doing several exciting things including planning  North End Crime Strategy, forming the Hands of Hope Committee, and sending a message ad sharing OUR dreams for what we believe the Merchant's Hotel can become.

Please share this blog post, share the facebook event, but most importantly, please COME TO THE BELL TOWER TODAY, FRIDAY @ 6PM. I also challenge any media people reading this to come to this event. We have already had 140 people come and show us they believe we are strong and we deserve better than this violence. I dare all of you to come to the bell tower, stand with us, and share your vision.

Love & Respect


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meet Me @ The Bell Tower - LOVE

Dear North End Fam

So we have ad 2 events and about 140 community members come out. We have had drum groups, hip hop artists and North Enders of every age, colour and size. We have initiated North End Rising the North End Youth Council and are planning on developing more solid strategies on how we can combat crime in our community.

Please share this event and inviate anyone you know who wants to lend their hands or support to meet all of us at the Bell Tower this Friday, December 2nd 2011 ay 6pm.

Together We Can stop the violence.

with LOVE.



    • When
      Friday, December 2, 2011
    • Time
      6:00pm until 7:30pm
  • Description
    Meet Me @ The Bell Tower has become an opportunity for us as a North End Community to come together.

    In Week 1- Stop The Violence, we had 40 people come out and we committed to bringing one person back next week.

    In Week 2 - Hands of Hope, approximately 100 people came together to lend their hands to our Stop The Violence initiative. And we promised the same thing.

    Now, we must come together once more, as a North End community and stand together. We must keep the momentum going and try to make this the most successful Bell Tower event yet.

    If you want to join us, and help us plan our next steps and how WE can create a North End Crime Strategy. We can stop the violence in the best way we as a North End know how to...

    with LOVE.

What Happened at Hands of Hope?

Meet Me @ The Bell Tower has become an opportunity for us as a North End Community to stand together. In Week 1- Stop The Violence, we had 40 people come out and we committed to bringing one person back next week. In Week 2 - Hands of Hope, approximately 100 people came together to lend their hands to our Stop The Violence  initiative. We had drummers, speakers and artists lending their support to us as we rang the Bell, and marched to Salter & Selkirk to share our message. Our After party was hosted at Indian Family Centre and refreshments were donated by Robin's Donuts and the Champagne's. We shared some music as well, in the form of a drum group led by Chickadee & Ninoondawah and some live performances from Hip Hop artist Lorenzo.

What Happened?!

We gathered at the Bell Tower @ 6pm and proceeded to converse. We had some coffee generously donated by the Robin’s on Salter & Selkirk and some stickers, courtesy of AYO!. All in attendance were given the challenge to place their HOPE stickers in a prominent place in the community. We began with some words from community members, and a moving speech from Councillor Ross Eadie, community leader Kelvin and many others as well. We were honoured to share some songs, our spirit and our culture, on the big Drum, led by Chickadee. From there, we took our group photo and marched, being led by some of our young community members to Selkirk & Salter where there was recently and act of violence happen. We marched, and as we did those standing by the Bell Tower, with the drum, found a way to ring our bell. We will find a way to ring the Bell Tower again next week too!

And then…

We then gathered at the Indian Family Centre (470 Selkirk Ave) and were able to sit in warmth and enjoy some lemon tarts donated by the Champagnes. We also listened to a few more community members share their stories, and then proceeded to do the Opportunity Sharing portion of the night where we got support for several community initiatives for North End Rising/The FWD (NECRC), Healing Still Continues (AYO) and a Ralph Brown/St. John’s Youth Group. We will be able to mobilize these groups in the future, and we will share our hope…through their hands! Then, we were treated to a special treat when Hip Hop artist Lorenzo shared his words of hope with all of us. Our evening concluded amazingly with another song from our guardian Drum and a commitment to return to the Bell Tower, next Friday with a friend.

Our next event is happening next Friday Dec 2nd 2011 @ 6pm at the Bell Tower and our theme this time is LOVE. We are going to take our community action another step further and begin to put together a North End strategy to deal with violence and crime. Please bring your ideas and we will begin to put them together so we can have a crime strategy that works for our community: a strategy made out of LOVE. You can get more info on the Facebook event, here!

Thank you to all 140 of you that have attended the first 2 Meet Me @ The Bell Tower events. We will Stop The Violence (week 1) using our Hands of Hope (week 2); and we will do it with LOVE (week 3).

See you Friday.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winnipeg We Day Challenge

So today, 16,000 young people gathered at the MTS Centre rallying around a message that together, we can make change. This was We Day; an epic cultish type youth empowerment machine. it was equipped with choreographed dances for the audience, esteemed and well known local heroes as well as political people. Overall, I really enjoyed myself! My personal Top 3 moments came when:
  1. Paul Martin spoke about his Martin Foundation that provides opportunities for Aboriginal people to attend or finish school. He spoke about the inequalities and about how it is all of our duties as Canadians to support the education of our First Nations youth.
  2. Al Gore: spoke about the importance of  Respecting mother earth. He said that climate change IS possible, and those that say it isn’t are crooked. He said it is the youth that will change things….and I believe him.
  3. Michel Chikwanine: This one actually made me solidly shed tears. I couldn't handle the pain. This former child soldier shared his story and the action of taking a vow of silence on November 30th on behalf of the voiceless.
Well, that being said, I have a challenge for you, please see the Video Below

AND! This just in! Local Hip Hop Star Lorenzo has agreed to perform a couple of tracks! Please make sure that you tell your friends to come check out Lorenzo perform a couple of tracks. We even have some exciting opportunities to share about how all of us can start working together to give hope, and stop the violence.

Love & Respect


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meet Me @ The Bell Tower - HANDS OF HOPE (Fri Nov 25/11)

That’s right. We asked you what you wanted and you told us. We need to do this more often. And so, as decided by the patented AYO! Voting system (aka dot stickers on a big piece of paper) we will be meeting again next week for an event called:

This event is an opportunity to take our positive message one step further and begin to make plans on how we put our resources together to make change. Some of the things you can look forward to learning about include:
  • AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities) and the exciting opportunities you can get involved with, or the chance to share your own gifts and ideas with the community.
  • NECRC’s Youth initiative, North End Rising will be presenting an information session so that young people in the North End can learn how they can get involved with even more positive opportunities
    • The FWD: North End Youth Newspaper – a chance to get work experience, volunteer to put together a North End Youth Newspaper and develop your gifts as much as you want to.
    • A North End Youth Council – imagine, an opportunity to meet once a month with other young leaders from the North End. Hear from them about all of the exciting things that are happening in their neighbourhoods. You can join and represent anything, a resident’s association, a youth organization, a church group or more!
    • North End 5 Year Plan: learn about how YOU decided our community should go in the next 5 years, from 2011 to 2016. YOUTH are the # 1 priority but we also wanna do some fun stuff like Economic Development, which means more stores and money opportunities in our hoods and chances to get paid to share our many gifts!
    This is it. We in the North End have been waiting for so long for an opportunity to take back our community and this is it. if we can come together, we can bring the young people, the businesses, the parents, the Elders, the children together...we can beat this violence.  You guys already proved it last Friday when 40 of us battled the snow and STILL showed up. There will be more awesomeness to come, just check us on Friday.

    Please, Its NOT too late to get involved. We are doing it all again (and probably will be doing this for a while). Please check us out @ The Bell Tower, for Hands of Hope :)

    Love (simply love)

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    EKOSI/THANKYOU! (Meet Me @ The Bell Tower - Stop The Violence)

    Good morning folks!

    The speakers predominantly young, male and Aboriginal. Many people brought items to share and we have a list of thank you’s a mile long!

    1. HOPE T- Shirts – Designed by Kale Bonham, printed with support from Ross Eadie, City Councillor.
    2. Muffins & Cake & Gingerbread House – from the Champagnes, my amazing family
    3. Candles, Posters & Facebook power – AYO! the Anti-Gang we rocked it out and have
    4. The Media – too many for me to know right now, we attracted tons of media attention for the good that we are doing. Way to smash some stereotypes, more links will be posted later. For now, you can check out CTV here and the Winnipeg Free Press Here.
    5. Kale & the FWD: St. John’s Team – for providing awesome photos, Link to album HERE
    6. THE NORTH END – for being so full of amazing and supportive people who are willing to stand up to make a change, and are not afraid to talk about our children.

    I am indebted to the speakers tonight, your names I did not capture, but your messages were heard loud and clear: We are finished with the violence. If we see someone in the street who needs our help, we should help them. If we see a child in distress, we should reach out to them, if we see an opportunity to do good, we need to do it.

    We must tell our friends, and family and tell them to drop their colours. Forget about gangs and step into their beautiful North End Community. Volunteer. People can join in with AYO by checking out our facebook page. If you want to get involved with NECRC (North End Community Renewal Corps.), North End Community Helpers Network & MORE you can come check out next weeks event…

    That’s right. We asked you what you wanted and you told us. We need to do this more often. And so, as decided by the patented AYO! Voting system (aka dot stickers on a big piece of paper) we will be meeting again next week for an event called:

    This event is an opportunity to take our positive message one step further and begin to make plans on how we put our resources together to make change. Some of the things you can look forward to learning about include:
    • AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities) and the exciting opportunities you can get involved with, or the chance to share your own gifts and ideas with the community.
    • NECRC’s Youth initiative, North End Rising will be presenting an information session so that young people in the North End can learn how they can get involved with even more positive opportunities
      • The FWD: North End Youth Newspaper – a chance to get work experience, volunteer to put together a North End Youth Newspaper and develop your gifts as much as you want to.
      • A North End Youth Council – imagine, an opportunity to meet once a month with other young leaders from the North End. Hear from them about all of the exciting things that are happening in their neighbourhoods. You can join and represent anything, a resident’s association, a youth organization, a church group or more!
      • North End 5 Year Plan: learn about how YOU decided our community should go in the next 5 years, from 2011 to 2016. YOUTH are the # 1 priority but we also wanna do some fun stuff like Economic Development, which means more stores and money opportunities in our hoods and chances to get paid to share our many gifts!
    Ok. I will finish ranting for now by saying EKOSI. Thank you so much to everyone who came out and I am so excited for all of us to bring a friend next week so we can begin to build on what we started today. Aboriginal Youth are not apathetic and I am so proud of the warriors, the young Aboriginal men and women, and our families and our entire community for coming out to support our voices. Thank you for hearing us.

    Please, don’t think its too late to get involved. We are doing it all again next week. Please check us out @ The Bell Tower again, for Hands of Hope :)

    Love & Respect

    Meet Me @ The Bell Tower - Today @ 6pm!

    Dear North End (and friends)

    Wow. Look at what you have done. We now have over 50 people attending our event on facebook. Thanks to Councillor Ross Eadie, we have some T shirts for helpers of tonight's event. Thanks to Facebook, we also have a Hoop Dancer who will share a dance with us at the beginning of our rally.


    The initial article that got us going is available here. You can hear the story of how this came about, and what we really want for our community!

    Next, we clarified some details, telling people what our agenda is for tonight's events.

    Finally, we shared with you all of the love and support that we have been recieving for the event tonight.

    Since the last post, we have been able to receive more people who want to help with covering the event, we have had someone donate some hot chocolate, someone is making us cupcakes and even more people have sent messages onto our Facebook Wall for the event.

    I am writing this post to say thank you already. You are all amazing people and I know I can speak for the entire Anti-Gang when we say EKOSI for the support.

    Love, Respect & Courage Friends.

    North End MC

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    True Stories: North Enders DO Care!

    Dear World.

    We are already winning our battle. I have known, like many of you, that the North End is full of amazing and inspiring people. I happen to be fortunate to come from a community where we are all genuinely giving and caring people that do not believe that violence is the answer. I do believe that we have become fed up with the systems around us, and so for many of us crime and violence have been our only (apparent) option.

    Not Anymore

    In the past week, North Enders have been sending AYO support, sending me personal letters of encouragement and support, that I am moved to tears. I am so inspired by the showing of support that has come from our North End Family.

    True Stories of North End Style SUPPORT

    Here are a couple Facebook messages I received recently as a result of all the support media has been giving us and our cause. It feels like the tides are turning, read it for yourself:

    • saw your interview on CTV news, i live in North End, i support what your doing, its important that those who are scaring the crap out of us and our kids know that there are a whole lot of families that still believe, we can have a safer neighbourhood. Silence seems to be what makes things worse.
    • Hey!!
      I just heard what your doing for the city on CTV! It's really inspiring to hear what you're doing. And keep up the good work! That's totally awesome.
      And don't ever give up! :)  
    Check out these e-mail messages t
    • I saw you on cky news. I'm proud of you although I don't know u... I like  that you are trying to make a difference in people's lives. Not just native people but ultimately, everyone in our city. I saw a girl on the news that commented that your rally/march won't really make a difference. That attitude makes me a little angry but mostly sad. I'm sure u have to deal with alot of negativity but I sense you are a strong minded guy so I expect to see u evolve into a very inspirational leader in this city. ;-) So yeah, thanks for your passion and I really wish u well.
    And real live people from within our city have rallied to support us. Starting, amazingly, with one of our very own local elected officials!


    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Meet Me at The Bell Tower Agenda

    Thanks so much to everyone who has been supporting our event so far. The media has been amazing. Shout out to CTV for featuring MC on the news tonight (check out the Nov 15 News Player). We are expecting close to 30 people (if not more!!) to attend.  The Agenda is loosely planned, but I will share with you the rough agenda.


    Thanks so much to the folks at Burrows Resource Centre for listing our event on their page! As well, thank you so much to Red Power United for listing this on their events page as well. We also have several Twitter friends that have been keeping our tweets together by following @AYOantigang!


    6:00pm – 6:30pm        Rally @ The Bell Tower (Selkirk & Powers)
    -         Smudge
    -         Eat Food
    -         Live Entertainment
    -         Listen to Speakers

    6:30 – 7:15pm        March Around the North End
    -         we will be walking on the side walks
    -         please bring signs

    7:15 – 7:30pm          Reconvene @ The Bell Tower
    -         Candle Vigil
    -         ‘What’s Your Problem?’
    -         Next Steps

    So we will be walking outside. Please make sure that you dress warmly the weather says it is going to be a low of minus 9, and a North wind of 25 kilometers/hour. So please dress warm and be prepared to march around and be loud. MAKE BANNERS AND SIGNS IF YOU CAN!

    You may also bring a picture of a loved one for the Vigil.


    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    No Judgment!

    I don't normally like it when people on facebook post really long status updates that make you feel bad. But sometimes I come across one or two that move me to the point that I'd like to share them too.

    I'd like to thank my friend Pam for posting this where I could see it!


    she's emo? you'd cut too, if you've been through what she has.
    she's anorexic? you'd be too, if everyone called you fat everyday.
    she's a whore? she made one mistake that cost her, her reputation.
    she's a show off? her parents abused her & she's never heard of praise.
    she's loud? she's invisible at home, & she wants to be heard.
    ... she's quiet? she's afraid to speak, because she's scared to get made fun of.
    she's fat? she binges, because she misses her dead brother.
    she's a geek? she wants to get into college, so she can support her poverty ridden family.
    she doesn't wear brand names? her parents have been out of work for months, clothes aren't her top priority if she can't even afford food.
    she's ugly? tell me, what is the definition of beauty?
    who are you to judge them? you may know their name, but not their story.
    Speak up when you see injustice, and remember...

    NO Judgment!


    I hate bullying. I love Respect.


    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Meet Me @ the Bell Tower

    So today, AYO! Leadership met at Paressa restauranton Selkirk Avenue.  We planned and were able to discuss a variety of things, but most importantly we were able to plan an exciting event that we want to invite the world to...

    The bottom line is we are sick and tired of how much violence is happening in our community. All of us are. I am sick and tired of having to bury the people that are important to me. I am sick of people feeling hopeless.

    There is HOPE

    On Friday November 18th young North Enders are fighting back. If you want this violence to stop, come with us. Please, we are asking that anyone, but especially young people come to the Bell Tower on Salter and Selkirk at 6pm and meet with us.  We are currently working on getting HOPE/AYO Anti Gang T Shirts for people who are interested in coming as well as other forms of merchandise or advertising.  There will be live entertainment at the event, as well as some type of free food. So far we have agreements from a Twitter Friend from the Winnipeg Free Press who is interested in covering the story, and we are working on getting more radio/media press.

    If anyone is interested in helping us organize or advertise for this vent, please do not hesitate to send an e-mail to  We are currently looking for assistance in purchasing the T Shirts…and buying the food.

    Love, Respect & Courage


    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    A LITE Breakfast (Celebrating the 15th Annual Blueberry Pancake Breakfast)

    And what a pancake it was.

    Yesterday, supporters of LITE (Local Investment Towards Employment) held their 15th annual Blueberry pancake Breakfast, which is their largest fundraiser of the year at the Indian & Metis Friendship Centre at 45 Robinson.  LITE Began in the late 90’s as a response to the dramatic decline in grocery store sales during the Christmas season due to the high rate of donated hamper usage in the inner city.  As a result, they created a hamper program that purchased products from inner city businesses.

    This event took place and was a fantastic opportunity for Winnipeg’s Inner City to come together.  The Masters of Ceremony for the event were Bubba B the MC and yours truly, Michael Redhead Champagne. The entire City of Winnipeg (on Twitter) was also kept alive as @northendmc with the #winnipeg hash tag. There were many opportunities to eat, enjoy some awesome live entertainment and engage in the beautiful gifts that the inner city of Winnipeg has to share. There were raffle tickets to Winnipeg Jets games, tickets to any place WestJet flies and a variety of other basket prizes. We were able to serve THE most delicious pancakes ever.

    We also had an excellent range of entertainment including:

    We also had the likes of:

    As you can see, it was a ridiculoursly awesome occasion and my personal highlight came when Fred invited myself and Bubba up on stage to sing a REMIX of some of his biggest hits! Fred Penner was the person who gave me my very first Cassette Tape when I was going to David Livingstone Elementary School on Flora Avenue. Represent the vintage, and shout out to Fred Penner!

    Volunteers Made the LITE World Go Round

    The event was indeed a rousing success. We had several live feeds to HOT 103, presentations from the Winnipeg Foundation and Assiniboine Credit Union and of course, tons of fun courtesy of your MCs.  Thanks to the hard working volunteers that organized, cooked and sit on the Board of Directors and continue to steer the ship, set a trend and provide hope and LITE for inner city employment.

    The Horse and the Pig (Value vs. Success)

    This story was shared with me by my good Friend Charlene whom I met on the Canada-Caribbean Emerging Leaders Dialogue earlier this year. She is a strong woman, a lawyer, a member of parliament and a shit disturber. Her support helped me learn what I needed to learn while I was far from my home...

    HORSE and the PIG

    There once was a farmer who collected horses; he only needed one more breed to complete his collection. One day, he found out that his neighbor had the particular horse breed he needed. So, he constantly bothered his neighbor until he sold it to him.

    A month later, the horse became ill and he called the veterinarian, who said: "Well, your horse has a virus. He must take this medicine for three days. I'll come back on the 3rd day and if he's not better, we're going to have to put him down." Nearby, the pig listened closely to their conversation. The next day, they gave him the medicine and left. The pig approached the horse and said:
    "Be strong, my friend. Get up or else they're going to put you to sleep!"

    On the second day, they gave him the medicine and left. The pig came back and said: "Come on buddy, get up or else you're going to die! Come on, I'll help you get up. Let's go! One, two, three..."

    On the third day, they came to give him the medicine and the vet said: "Unfortunately, we're going to have to put him down tomorrow otherwise, the virus might spread and infect the other horses."

    After they left, the pig approached the horse and said: "Listen pal, it's now or never! Get up, come on! Have courage! Come on! Get up! Get up! That's it, slowly! Great! Come on, one, two, three... Good, good. Now faster, come on.... Fantastic! Run, run more! Yes! Yay! Yes! You did it, you're a champion!!!"

    All of a sudden, the owner came back, saw the horse running in the field and began shouting: "It's a miracle! My horse is cured. This deserves a party. Let's kill the pig!"


    This often happens in the workplace. Nobody truly knows which employee actually deserves the merit of success, or who's actually contributing the necessary support to make things happen.



    (And when it's our turn, speak up for the pig.)


    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Under the Influence: Flo Rida, Avicii & Etta James

    Woa-oh, sometimes…I get a good feeling!

    ‘Good Feeling’ by Flo Rida (2011)

    So Flo Rida recently had a top 10 hit on the BillBoard Charts with ‘Good Feeling’ I really like this song and feel its important for me to acknowledge that I LOVE IT how many hip hop artists are presenting new music that is danceable AND positive. I got such respect for Flo Rida for his lyrics in this song, the video shows him having lotsa fun doing things that give him a ‘good feeling’. I laughed a few times while I was watching it out loud (LOL for real!).

    ‘Levels’ by Avicii (2011)

    This is actually sampling a song by 22 year old Swedish DJ Avicii. This guy was mentored by people like Eric Prydz and Swedish House Mafia who are both killer producers that have released some wicked beats in recent times.  Most Recently Swedish House Mafia did a song called Miami to Ibiza’ with London, UK Rapper Tinie Tempah.  I Love it how modern artists today, from across the world are taking the old and making it new. They are musical pioneers sharing the sol of past generations with today’s youth.

    ‘Something’s Got a Hold On Me’ by Etta James (1962)

    This is where soul came from eh! Wow. You Go Etta. Xtina recently did a cover of this song for her movie Burlesque. I love it when we take the old, and make it new. Its like a modern musical representation of ‘Respect for Elders’!

    Music = Life


    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Under the Influence: Gail Asper Rap Battles T-Bhagg

    Under the Influence: UTI explores the relationships between various elements, musical, personal, spiritual, implied, literal, sampled, political or any other random influence that is observed.  ‘Nothing about me is original; I am the combined sum of everyone I have ever known’ - MC T-Shirt

    So this one maybe isn’t that relevant anymore because the election has already happened and this is a voting related post. But, here we are.  So once upon a time, there were all sorts of people in influential places that were making videos trying to encourage people to vote, and especially young people.  There are man young people in the North End who choose not to vote (we did have an increase in voter turnout this year in Point Douglas, but we are still under 50% of ppl who can vote, that actually do it).

    In any event here is Gail’s vid to encourage voter turnout:

    WARNING: Young people, the following video (I think) was not intended to offend you, but just goes to show how disconnected some people are from the way we see the world.

    Now, my initial reaction was really positive I like any attempt to get young people involved in making change.  I do however have a couple of key issues with this, especially considering Miss Gail Asper is one of the people that is leading the charge and is being quite successful in fundraising or the Canadian Museum of Human Rights that is being built at the forks. However, I think there are some unintentional (hopefully) insensitivities within her poem that are concerning to me as a young Native person.  ‘Even if you have small pox’?! Wow, what I know about small pox is that it was the illness that wiped out well over half of the Neechie population on Turtle Island when Europeans arrived here. So I think that was a bit insensitive.

    However, I was not alone

    Enter T-Bhagg

    Now I was showing people the Gail Video to see if they thought I was crazy or valid, and we found someone who made a response to Gail’s Video.  While I don’t endorse the activities he talks about, I do gotta say HI 5 to him for making a response and explaining a very real perspective that many people have.  If we have addictions, family challenges and feel like we are being spoken down to in a condescending way, us young folks will deliberately NOT VOTE. Now some say that is damaging to democracy…but I say that IS democracy. That IS the people expressing their voice that the current system isn’t good enough; that we demand better.

    I guess we’ll have to keep trying, but for now, these vids will have to do.


    North End MC

    My photo
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Representin the North End of Winnipeg since 1987. I will share my journey tryna set an example and live a proud Cree life. I'll include my challenges and feelings and progress in terms of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. You(th) are the reason.