Radio — Resources for youth liberation in Vancouver: The Purple Thistle Centre

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Syvlia McFadden and Carla Bergman talk about their work with The Purple Thistle Centre, a youth-run community centre for arts and activism in Vancouver.

It is perhaps not named and noted as frequently as many other issues in the context of adult-centric social justice spaces, but youth — especially otherwise marginalized youth — get something of a raw deal in our society. They are often mistrusted, blamed for various social ills, put down as deficient in different ways. They often have little option but to spend great amounts of time in hierarchical educational settings that may allow some to thrive but that push many out, and squash the spirits and hopes of many others. Yet there are also initiatives that push against these anti-youth tendencies. The Purple Thistle Centre is one such initiative. Also sometimes envisioned as an “alternative-to-school,” it is a place where youth can come together and collectively pursue their interests, where they can feel what it is like to be trusted and to be in charge, and where they can work together to learn and to create — whether that is creating art, film, theatre, or a better world. Bergman and McFadden are organizers with The Purple Thistle. They talk with me about the issues that youth face, and about why the centre exists and how it works.

To learn more about The Purple Thistle Centre, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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