April 20, 2024

Your Voice is Power – a popular educational program and remix competition that teaches computer science skills to middle and high school students using music from Indigenous artists – has officially launched its 2024 edition, and teachers across the country are encouraged to participate.

The program – supported by Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon Music and charity TakingITGlobal – teaches the basics of coding while engaging students in grades 7 through 12 in discussions on the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis experience in Canada, including topics like Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Students remix music from Indigenous artists such as Jayli Wolf, Dakota Bear, Samian, and Twin Flames using EarSketch, a free online code editor available in English, French, Ojibwe, and Inuktitut. This year, Juno Award-nominated artist Aysanabee will join the student competition judging panel and provide music for the curriculum.

More than 15,000 students and teachers participated in Your Voice is Power in 2023, and the target has been boosted to 20,000 in 2024. The program’s goal is to encourage more students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds to pursue the education and training needed for in-demand technology jobs.

“At Amazon, we are committed to empowering children and young adults to learn new skills that will give them more opportunities,” said Cynthia Caglar, Head of Amazon Future Engineer Canada. “There is strong demand for computer science-related careers, but we know that many Canadians – especially those from underserved backgrounds – risk being left behind. Your Voice is Power gives students and teachers an introduction to coding while demonstrating how music and computer science can be tools to advance social justice, which can help them identify future academic and career possibilities.”

“Your Voice is Power makes it possible for more diverse voices to resonate in a field that is helping shape Canada’s future, but doesn’t currently reflect our society. The program helps young people engage with technology in a way that puts their stories at the forefront and empowers them to apply new skills to share their own unique perspectives on the Indigenous experience,” said Anishinaabe educator Christine M’lot, who led curriculum development on behalf of TakingITGlobal with extensive year-long collaborations that involved hundreds of hours of consultation and review. The Cloud Innovation Centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC), which is a private/public collaboration between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and UBC, facilitated connections to Indigenous experts, students and alumni as well as to UBC faculty.

 

Participating artists: Jayli Wolf, Dakota Bear, and Twin Flames
Participating artists: Jayli Wolf, Dakota Bear, Twin Flames, and Aysanabee.

Amazon Music ‘Your Voice is Power’ Playlist

Amazon Music subscribers in Canada are able to stream an exclusive Your Voice is Power playlist featuring songs by artists including Twin Flames, Jayli Wolf, Dakota Bear, Samian, and many others featured in the program. This playlist features music celebrating themes of perseverance and determination, showcasing foundational moments in music spanning 30+ years of music making.

“We’re proud to continue our work with Your Voice Is Power for a third consecutive year, and use music to create and encourage conversation and connection around the Indigenous experience in Canada,” said John Murphy, Head of Music, Canada, Amazon Music. “We’re very grateful for the engagement and participation of artists, teachers, and students in the program, and we can’t wait to hear the new remixes submitted this year.”

“As an activist, entrepreneur, musician and youth mentor, I’m thrilled to share my story and lyrics with youth through the Your Voice is Power program. I’ve had many opportunities to share my journey with Indigenous students in remote communities through TakingITGlobal’s Connected North program, and a program like this one is so timely in ensuring voices and perspectives like mine are heard and reflected on by even more students across Canada. I can’t wait to hear what students come up with as they mix their own music and express themselves,” said Dakota Bear.

Amazon Music leaders are part of the judging panel for the Your Voice is Power student competition, in which participants can submit their remixes for the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship. The deadline to submit entries to the 2024 student competition is May 31, and two winners – one Indigenous, one identifying as an ally – will be selected in June.

For more information and to participate in Your Voice is Power, visit yourvoiceispower.ca.

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