Diversity and Social Justice for Ottawa Middle Schools

On January 14, 2014, students from four middle schools across Ottawa attended a day-long Jer’s Vision event where they learned about diversity and inclusiveness in their schools and at home.

 The day kicked off after the students from York Street School, Queen Elizabeth, Maple Ridge, and Fisher Park/Summit Alternative arrived and were greeted with a keynote from Lukayo Estrella from the Jer’s Vision team. Afterwards, the students attended one of four workshops, each ranged in variety from learning about diverse genders and family settings to learning about the history of Native Americans and settlers.

During lunch, the students were treated to a performance by Insight Theatre, which showcased scenes of homophobia, diversity, and safer sex that are relevant to a middle schooler’s life.

After lunch, the students had a chance to see the National Gallery of Canada for an hour before settling down to watch the Polish documentary Them, which was not only a striking look at homophobia and violence, but also to see how groups that were created to do good can also be bullies if their views are attacked.

At the end of the day, the students gained  more knowledge about diverse people and cultures that they could take back to their schools, and soon enough to their high school experience.