Middle school youth in Edmonton stand out against bullying at the Alberta conference

Jer’s Vision took a trip to Alberta to present the Dare to Stand Out Alberta Conference on March 18, 2013 at Lawton Junior High in Edmonton! The conference aimed to give tools and skills to Edmonton youth on how to stop bullying and discrimination so that they can create a safer, more inclusive community that celebrates diversity. 
The day began with an opening smudge ceremony presented by our two Keynote speakers, the Two Spirit Circle of Edmonton, and Ahmed “Knowmadic” Ali.
The Two Spirit Circle of Edmonton Society (TSCES) is a non-profit organization offering cultural and social services for Two Spirit people, their family members and allies in the community. Their Vision Statement is that Two Spirit peoples are recognized, respected and engaged in an integral manner, within Indigenous communities and society in general.  Their Mission is to repatriate and enhance traditional roles and responsibilities as Two Spirit people in Indigenous communities while creating supportive environments within all societies for contemporary Two Spirit peoples.  
Ahmed Ali, also known as Knowmadic, is an award winning Somali-Canadian poet who is known to use humor and word play in his poetry to create awareness of social issues that aren’t often given attention. He feels he is continuing the legacy passed on by his ancestors who shared a common interest in spoken word. Ahmed has toured throughout Canada and the United States performing poetry. 
The day was full of a variety of diverse workshops and students were able to walk away with an array of new imformation on the LGBTQ community and the issues that they face. These workshops include: Two Spirit Panel by the Two Spirit Circle Society of Edmonton, Being Me… Bully Free (Human Sexuality and Bullying) facilitated by Mickey Wilson on behalf of the Pride Centre of Edmonton, What Happens When You Press Send? (Internet Safety Workshop) facilitated by Katie Kitschke and Amanda Nixon of the SAFFRON Centre Public Education Program, Dealing with Difference facilitated by Richard Flank of YOUCAN Youth Services, Boundaries & Self-Acceptance facilitated by Cortney Lohnes from Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF) Society, Healthy Sexuality by Dr. Brian Parker of Options Sexual Health, Residential Schools & Stereotypes by Cory Cardinal of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, Peer2Peer Advocacy by Renee Laporte and Nathan Devlin of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, How to Start An Anti-Bullying Club by Jeremy Dias of Jer’s Vision, Exploring and Expressing our Oneness by Maigan van der Giessen of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, Girl Power? Macho Man? Are you SERIOUS??  – Deconstructing Gender Discrimination and the Clashing of Cultures by Aliza Dadani, and last but not least Be a Positive Bystander & Be the Difference by the Red Cross: RespectED Program.
The day was a huge success and we couldn’t have done it without the help of others!  We would like to thank so many people for making this day possible! 
Thank you to Michael Moores, who sponsored the event in loving memory of Cameron Moosewah, Lawton Junior High for being a gracious host, Lawton Junior High and Highlands School for attending and all their participation, The Pride Centre of Edmonton, SAFFRON Centre, YOUCAN Youth Services, Stop Abuse In Families Society, Options Sexual Health, The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and the Red Cross: RespectED Program for being wonderful presenters, and of course TD Canada Trust for their helpful volunteers! You all made this day possible!

One student said: “Thank you all for the information. I will do what I can to stop bullying in my school.”