Almost 300 students from secondary schools across Windsor-Essex filled Ambassador Auditorium and classrooms in Dillon Hall on Thursday to discuss issues of identity ranging from disability to race, from nationalism to gender.
The 12th annual High School Social Justice Forum explored the theme “Identity: Canada 150?” says organizer Deanna Fougère of Teachers for Global Awareness, and the question mark is no accident.
“We wanted to talk about the 14,000 years of the country before European colonization,” she says. “Four of our 14 sessions this year, plus our introductory keynote, address First Nations issues.”
Fougère says the goal is to inspire the next generation of leaders.
“We want to talk about where we’re coming from and where we’re going in the future,” she says. “We have to give the kids the tools to move forward.”
Grace Charron, a grade 10 student from Herman Academy, says the day’s activities were educational.
“I really learned a lot and had a good experience,” she says. “I got educated about issues in the community and all around Canada.”
A session Thursday led by teacher Enver Villamizar on Canadian sovereignty helped to provide some context for current controversies, says Charron.
“I learned about NAFTA and NORAD and some other acronyms,” she says.
The annual event receives support from the UWindsor Faculty of Education, Office of the Provost, and Office of Human Rights, Equity and Accessibility.