Waterloo region youth ready to take on law after diversity event

Youth who participated in the inaugural Braiding Diversity into Justice event at the Kitchener courthouse say they're ready to break through the barriers and take on a career in law.

Next generation determined to "broaden people's minds and erase the ignorance"

Over 30 young women were at the Kitchener courthouse Tuesday to meet local lawyers, judges and people working in the legal field. (Ontario Justice Education Network/Twitter)

Youth who participated in the inaugural Braiding Diversity into Justice event at the Kitchener courthouse say they're ready to break through the barriers and take on a career in law. 

"Initiatives such as this, it's aimed for empowerment and I think that's exactly what they are achieving," said Teddy McCallum, a 16-year-old student from Waterloo Collegiate Institute who took part in the event.

She said that if you're paying attention to the news, it's easy to get discouraged, but an event like this shows that strides toward equality are being achieved. 

"This is what we're trying to do," she said, "Broaden people's minds and erase the ignorance." 

Teddy McCallum, 16, and Edward Linder, 17, talk to host Craig Norris about Braiding Diversity into Justice, an event at the Kitchener courthouse that aimed to attract more young women to a career in law. 6:27

The event — organized by lawyers, judges and others working in Waterloo regions legal scene — was geared toward young women who may face discrimination based on gender identity or racial background. 

Edward Linder, a 17-year-old student from Cameron Heights Collegiate and head of the schools Gender Sexuality Awareness club, said listening to the lawyers and judges tell their stories was inspiring. 

"Hearing about the hardships they have faced and what they've gone through, it makes me angry," he said. 

"Like, it makes me want to kick down those barriers they had to go through."

He said that thinking about a career in law gives him hope, because it would be a way of changing laws that put people at a disadvantage. 

Organizers say they plan to run a Braiding Diversity event every year, in the hopes of changing the demographics of courtrooms in Kitchener and the province.