NEWS: Rainbow District School Board hosting talks with founder of Jer's Vision

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Rainbow District School Board hosting talks with founder of Jer’s Vision
By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

In its quest to make equity and inclusive education a priority, Rainbow District School Board will host Jeremy Dias, who will speak about his experience of racism and homophobia while growing up in Northern Ontario.

Dias was born in Edmonton, Alta., and grew up there until moving to Sault Ste. Marie, where he attended high school. As a youth, he was motivated by social and political inequality to take action, volunteering with numerous organizations and charities, according to a news release.

In high school, he started and led a number of clubs including Stop Racism and Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving. He also founded and co-ordinated the Sault Ste. Marie first regional LGBTQ youth group.

After coming out in high school, Dias faced extreme cases of discrimination by school officials. At 17, he began a legal case against his school and school board, and at 21, won Canada’s second largest human rights settlement, the press release stated. He used the money to found Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative and the Jeremy Dias Scholarship.

Dias will visit a number of Rainbow Schools from Sept. 24 to 26. He will also speak about what he is now doing to support students in the school system to create safer spaces.

“This presentation will foster the ongoing creation of positive school cultures where diversity is valued and respected,” said Rainbow School Board Superintendent Lesleigh Dye. “We want students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited and questioning to feel safe, secure, welcomed and important in our schools.”

This will mark Dias’ third visit to Rainbow Schools in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin.

Dias is completing a degree in psychology and political science at the University of Ottawa, continues to volunteer for a number of organizations, and is a columnist for 2B Magazine in Montreal. Dias currently serves as Jer’s Vision’s Executive Director.

For more information, visit http://www.jersvision.org/.