On November 9, Grade 12 students from Georges Vanier SS hosted an Anti-Hate Conference, which aimed to promote the importance of tolerance and understanding. The Conference, organized by students as part of their Grade 12 Equity and Social Justice course curriculum, was attended by 140 Grade 5 students from nearby Kingslake PS, Lescon PS, and Seneca Hill PS.
“Hate in all forms has no place in our school or any TDSB school,” said Shawn Robertson, Vice-Principal, Georges Vanier SS. “I am proud of the work that these students put into the Anti-Hate Conference, and the impact it will have on so many other students and schools.”
With the support of Melissa Mikel, Director of Education for the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the students created and delivered three separate, age-appropriate workshops for the Grade 5 students covering antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Indigenous racism and other forms of hate. The keynote speaker at the Conference was Holocaust survivor Andy Reti.
“The opportunity to not just study social change, but make change in our immediate community was an important part of organizing this Anti-Hate Conference and bringing it to life,” said Shivani Maharaj, Equity and Social Justice course teacher. “The students felt strongly about seeing themselves reflected and represented in the topics, themes and workshops, they wanted to bring meaningful engagement and buzz around becoming an advocate for understanding and change.”
Following the conference, the grade 5 classes were assigned the task of creating something to represent their thoughts and feelings from the day. The Grade 12 students from Georges Vanier SS are looking forward to visiting the Grade 5s at their schools to see the impact of the learning.