South Asian Youth (SAY) Collective

The History

The SAY Collective began as an ad-hoc committee of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC), as a result of young women expressing realities of violence in public spaces and within interpersonal relationships. SAY’s first Day of Action against violence against Women-identified people was held on September 24th, 2011.

To ensure that collective members were on the same page, we continued to organize, we developed a Basis of Unity , which we continue to use in ongoing SAY work.

SAY continues to be rooted in SAWCC, occupied Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Territory. We are against state, systemic and interpersonal violence (e.g. colonialism against Native peoples, racist immigration laws, poverty and neo-liberal policies, physical/verbal/sexual assault and harassment) as it impacts women-identified, gender non-conforming, LGBTTQ people and marginalised communities.

We organise from an anti-racist feminist perspective withthe goal of inciting radical change within and beyond our vibrant communities. We trust that such change is rooted in listening to each other’s stories, healing as individuals and communities from the violence we face, being creative, re-imagining the world we live in, sharing our skills, empowering ourselves, acting in solidarity with each other, resisting and challenging the status quo, and revolutionizing our minds and the spaces we occupy.

We are inspired by collective strength and visions of transforming society through horizontal (non-hierarchical) and grassroots organizing so that women and oppressed communities are free to self-determine our/their lives, and live in a society based on mutual respect, dignity and justice for all.

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Current Programs:

Uncensored Chai

Uncensored Chai is a bi-weekly support space for young South Asian folks of marginalized genders (including women, trans men and non-binary folks) ages 17-30 years old. This space has become a place where youth come together to share their struggles and life experiences, and connect with each other to provide emotional and moral support and a space for venting. It is also a space where members share their plans for projects, and find others who want to collaborate.

Time: Every other Thursday at 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Location: 2110 Mackay (on ZOOM for the duration of Covid-19 pandemic)
Details: An informal, drop-in, peer-based support group, facilitated by our Youth Programs Coordinator. Chai and snacks always provided. New members always welcome, no registration required.

Current SAY Projects: 

Open Hearts Zine:

The Open Hearts zine is a project by the South Asian Youth Collective aimed at giving space for stories on the subject of mental health of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) in a Canadian context. 

It consists of creative non-fiction, including but not limited to: prose, personal essays, diary entries and poetry. We understand that the experience of mental health intersects with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, etc. We want to use writing and sharing as a tool for collective healing, as well as use this project as a medium to build connection and amplify voices of BIPOC in our community. 

This zine is a resource for the youth in our programming (high school and post-secondary students primarily), as well as available for distribution for the community at large. 

Visit our centre for a copy! (by donation). Or check out a free digital copy here: Open Hearts Zine

Film screenings:

The SAY Collective offers semi-regular film screenings. We showcase films either from South Asia or that involve the experience of South Asian folks living in North America. The purpose of these film screenings is to have a space to watch these films critically, in a collective social setting, and potentially connect with other folks through the ideas the films provoke for us. 

Events for the community

The collective tries to organize events for the community at large, depending on capacity of its members, centering on themes like history, music, poetry, violence against women, and intergenerational events. 

Unravelling in Rhymes

Unravelling in Rhymes is a FREE creative writing workshop, offered 3 to 4 times a year, where we invite people of colour of marginalized genders (including women, trans men and non-binary folks) ages 17-30 years old, to come together in a safe(r), non-judgmental and supportive space and share an afternoon of writing and sharing.

In past workshops we have found that this space is more one of healing, sharing our stories (sometimes for the first time), and connecting with other people of colour and creating community, more than it is about the writing we create. Previous writing experience is not necessary! Notable authors and spoken word artists are often invited as guest facilitators for these workshops, giving participants the opportunity to connect with other artists and writers of colour in the community. 

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Storytelling is a Love Language

Despite the increasing role of technology in our lives, we continue to live for oral storytelling! Stories tell us who we are, where we come from, and bring meaning and excitement to our lives. Storytelling was the way in which our ancestors were able to connect and pass down knowledge, history, and wisdom. Each one of us has an infinite number of stories within us, and we tell stories every day, even if we don’t think we do.

This event aims to decolonize the act of storytelling and aims to bring people together in order to share an intimate afternoon/evening of sharing and connecting as authentically as possible. This event is a storytelling open mic, and each edition has its own theme and criteria to sign up as a storyteller.

The first edition of this event was held in August, 2019, and we continue to plan Storytelling is a Love Language with different themes and storytellers each time. 

Want to stay updated on Storytelling is a Love Language events? Sign up for our mailing list by completing the form below, or e-mail