Age 23. Resides in Winnipeg.
I met Chris at the Bell Tower. He welcomed me with a hug. After talking, I understand why.
“I was born here, not in the Philippines. This is my place and my home. I really like the political landscape in Winnipeg. it’s very small, community based, you get to know everyone. Everything is very transparent, very open if you know the right people.”
“The story you can take from me is the relationships I have built. I wouldn’t be able to build these relationships now without Michael Champagne. I got to know Michael champagne through a conference known as “Count Me In” run by Shane Feldman who is a student in Toronto who decided to create a movement in getting young people and students to get involved in their schools. There was a conference here in 2013 where Michael champagne spoke. We decided to reconnect during the municipal election. Michael has roots in a lot of organizations in the community. He has built a network of relationships with institutions and powerful people in strong community and institutional organizations. So that has me to meet the mayoral candidates like Brian Bowman, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, the board members of Thunderbird House. There’s a whole group of people that has connected me because my relationship to working with Michael.
That’s kind of one of the big things about me in my own life. Growing up I didn’t have any cultural connections or lifestyles that my family has, so for me I have always been on my own trying to develop my own identity and who I am and so working with a lot of the Indigenous community through Michael Champagne has given me a sense of family and my sense of my cultural identity. Seeing how other young people from the Indigenous community try to figure out who they are, and rebuild family relationships has made me more proud to say that I am Filipino in the context of… at the end of the day, how I describe myself is an urban Canadian Filipino youth. That’s the end perspective that I am at in my own life right now. That has helped me frame my sense of involved and passions in life.”
Chris is one of many who seek to find their own identity in this city. He says he has always considered himself a Winnipegger.
“This is my place and my home. Ever since the beginning of the municipal election, I’ve felt like more a part of Winnipeg being politically active in the city. I was trying to run as a mayoral candidate in the 2014 municipal election. I had an official agent who handles the financial aspects of the campaign. He decided to drop out so I never had an official agent with me. I couldn’t hand in my forms for running for mayor. So I ran as a school trustee instead. It went good, I got 1030 votes in my riding. I ran in the Seven Oaks school division, ward two. I got last place but I didn’t even do any campaigning so I was amazed I even got 1000 votes. I got more votes than Michel Fillion and he was running in the municipal election as one of the candidates.
One of my dreams is to run for mayor in the future elections. My commitment right now is running for mayoral candidacy for 2018, 2022 2026 and 2030. My 15 year plan right now. One day I do hope to be the mayor of Winnipeg.”
Chris works in the community right now, helping with events at the Bell Tower and at Thunderbird House. The Thunderbird House has recently began a renewal of programming, and now offer many events for interested citizens. Everyone is always welcome. You can find the schedule here: http://thunderbirdhouse.com/wordpress/events/