Teachers for Global Awareness (with members from Greater Essex County District School Board, Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, Faculty of Education -University of Windsor, Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation & Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre) is proud to present the 12th Annual High School Social Justice Forum titled- Identity: Canada 150? on Thursday October 12 2017 at the University of Windsor - Ambassador Auditorium and Dillon Hall.
Our keynote presenter is Shandra Spears Bombay, a renowned singer, songwriter, and playwright, who will perform a portion of her one-woman show that explores her story of cultural recovery from genocide augmented with song and poetry.
Through a full day of workshops and group discussions, students will learn about social justice issues relating to the theme of Identity: Canada 150? on topics such as150 years of Occupation, Urban Indian, Science of Race & Identity, feminism, incarceration, social media, and mental health. Students must select four workshops in order of preference from which two will be assigned.
As participants in the Annual High School Social Justice Forum, we encourage all students to complete a social justice project at their school. In preparation for the event’s ﬁnal activity, students should come to the forum with several ideas for social justice projects. These could include starting a Students for Global Awareness group, organizing a Diversity Assembly, hosting a fundraising dance, running an awareness/fundraising/outreach campaign (i.e. White Ribbon campaign, World AIDS Day Awareness, Day of Silence), environmental art installations, or any project that touches on topics such as human rights, poverty, health, and/or environment.
Keynote Speaker: Shandra Spears Bombay
Shandra Spears Bombay (Anishinaabe) is an actor, singer, writer and photographer. Shandra has been singing traditional hand-drum music for the past twenty-four years and currently sings with the popular group Hidden River Singers. She was a professor in the Assaulted Women’s & Children’s Counsellor/Advocate program at George Brown College, and her work focusses on cultural genocide and recovery. Shandra has performed excerpts of If This Is The End at the Weesageechak Festival, the SummerWorks Festival Lab Worklight program, the CAMINOS Festival Cabaret, the Ombaasin Collective: Braids of Resistance, and the Appropriate THIS! gathering. She is a member of Rainy River First Nations/Manitou Rapids and a member of the wolf clan. Raised in Chatham, Ontario, Shandra now makes her home in the Toronto area.
If This Is The End
Written and Performed by Shandra Spears Bombay
A transracial adoptee stands in the ruins of the Canadian dream. Never quite living up to her potential, never quite settling down, she strolls through cultural genocide like it’s a familiar white suburban neighbourhood in a small Canadian town.
“Holding nothing back, Spears Bombay owns the stage with her vulnerability, humour, and sadness” – Anishinabek News
“In order to know the person, you need to know the family.”
Theresa’s father was Delaware and her mother was Upper Mohawk. She has been a volunteer, Board Member, staff member since the Friendship Centre movement was in its infancy.
She has worn many hats, Court Worker, Literacy Coordinator, Healing and Wellness, Health Outreach and Executive Director. An area where Theresa has excelled is online training for cultural teachings. The Ontario Native Literacy Coalition has archived the cultural teachings and the thanksgiving address that she developed and delivered to the 26 Aboriginal Programs in Ontario.
As a resource person, Theresa has worked in the Penitentiaries in Kingston as a teacher, counselor and traditional healer. She continues to work as a traditional resource person for:Ontario Native Literacy Coalition
- Regina Saskatchewan’s All Nations Hope conferences
- Ontario Provincial Police, Aboriginal Relations Team
- Ontario Police college
- Past President of Ska: na Family Learning Centre
- Vice President /Treasurer of The Ontario Native Literacy Coalition
- Board member of Indigenous Education Coalition
- Chief Executive Officer for the Native Women of Windsor
- Elder for Wayne State Native Students
- Elder for Native American Indian Association in Detroit
- Elder for American Indian Health and Family Services in Detroit
“One thing that is always consistent is to make a difference. I hope in some small way, I can give someone else choices to make a difference in their life. Some did that for me, and I hope I can do the same for someone else. Nya: weh, Thank you”
My English name is Jaimie Kechego. My spirit name is Niiganaaskwe. I come from the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation or Deshkaan Ziibii. I grew up in between cities ranging from Windsor to Toronto. I attended Marlborough public school, attended Beal secondary school in London, attended the University of Windsor for my goals starting with obtaining my Bachelor of Arts, and grew with the addition of my Bachelor of Education while being an Ontario Certified Teacher who is qualified to teach in Ontario. I want to remove barriers to schools, school boards and titles. For example; to become an Indigenous superintendent responsible for First Nations, Métis and Inuit directed funds and programs at a board level. To implement full support and inclusion of Indigenous students and their families as well to educate other boards of education and how they can support and empower First Nations, Métis and Inuit employees at their organizations. To encourage diversity in paths to success recognizing that not all paths follow the “European” path and that these paths will always be different from the First Nations, Métis and Inuit path. My experience with the traditional European model of education never afforded me the opportunity to learn about who I am and my identity as it relates to being Anishnaabwe and the community I am from. Without this knowledge, I struggled with my identity constantly. I was however encouraged by my Grandmother to strive for post-secondary as well as my father. I could not see myself in a post-secondary environment because I thought I was too stupid and I thought my people were stupid as well because I never saw them as teachers, principals, or counsellors either. It is with a passion that I pursue paths to success and empowerment not only for myself but for the next 7 generations.
Natalie is a woman of African-Canadian, Chippewa, and Wyandot decent, and believes that diversity strengthens and enriches our schools and communities. In addition, Natalie feels that diversity, equity, and inclusion work together to create communities, where all people are afforded the opportunity to reach their highest potential.
Natalie is the Change Your Future Program Counsellor within the Greater Essex County District School Boards Diversity Office at Westview Freedom Academy and Kennedy Collegiate High School. The Change Your Future Program is an innovative education support program designed to increase the odds for minority youth. The program helps minority students progress through school, and overcome the challenges they face in the education system, while providing the necessary support to stay in school and to plan their futures.
At her core Natalie is a social justice activist both locally and globally with a focus on civil rights, human rights, and women’s rights. Natalie is an active member of Teachers for Global Awareness, The Black Educators Committee, the University of Windsor’s African Diaspora Youth Conference, Take Back the Night, and has participated in the Social Justice Forum for the last three years. She has worked with many newcomer and youth related organizations in Windsor and Essex County and loves advocating for marginalized populations.
Natalie is a graduate from the University of Windsor. Her educational background includes a BA in Education, a combine honours BA in Social Justice and Family and Social Relations, with a minor in Women’s Studies and Social Work. Natalie is also a graduate from St. Clair College and hold diplomas in Law and Security Administration and Police Foundations.
Ms. Ellsworth is a sixth generation Canadian and a descendent of enslaved Africans who escaped slavery in the Southern United States and travelled on the Underground Railroad to Windsor, Ontario. She is of African-Canadian and Chippewa decent and believes that using her experiences as a racialized minority in Canada to inspire youth in the community is essential through promoting education, social and cultural awareness, equity and diversity.
She is a graduate of the University of Windsor. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Modern Languages in Spanish, and a certificate in Law and Politics. She is also a graduate of the University Of Toronto Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, qualified to teach high school.
Ms. Ellsworth is the Change Your Future Program Counsellor within the Greater Essex County District School Board at W.F. Herman Academy Secondary School and Kennedy Collegiate. The Change Your Future Program is a supplemental educational support program designed to assist racialized students in finding their path to success, guiding them through obstacles and challenges that they may face in the educational system, as well as promoting anti-racism.
Ms. Ellsworth’s centralized focus is on social activism both locally and nationally. With a focus on anti-black racism and misogynoir. She has been an active member of the Hour A Day Study Club, Windsor Black Educators Association, Amherstburg Regular Missionary Baptist Association Mission Trip Program, the University of Windsor African Diaspora Youth Conference, and the Social Justice Forum. She has worked with many racialized and marginalized youth and enjoys helping youth to create their own path to success.
David Robbins-Singh aka 'Squeaky Wheelz" is a comedian who has traveled all across Ontario and Michigan performing his hilarious stand up routine, making light of disability and pretty much anything else in his comedic path of destruction. Dave's wit and clever analysis of society forces the audience to think critically about injustice while simultaneously laughing at the absurdity of discrimination. He is a communication student with a lot of experience in community development, such as his work with Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario.
Enver Villamizar is an Occasional Teacher with the Greater Essex County District School Board. He was a candidate in the Federal Elections in the riding of Essex and has been politically active since he was in high school. His main work has been to involve the youth in politics and in defending the rights of all in society.
Dr. Suzanne Bouclin
Professor Suzanne Bouclin is a lawyer and tenured professor at the University of Ottawa. She teaches social justice and feminist theories, has a PhD from McGill, and is completing a book on Criminalized women in popular culture from Caged to Orange is the New Black. In 2014, she founded a free legal clinic for homeless people. She has received numerous awards for her community service and for her research.
Dr. Venus Olla
Dr. Olla identifies herself as a World Citizen. She is a mother, wife, sibling, friend and educator. As a woman of African and Caribbean descent that grew up in the United Kingdom and immigrated to Canada, she is well aware of cultural differences and human similarities. She believes that education is the key to self-improvement and self-empowerment. Dr. Olla has a Chemical Engineering degree, Bachelors of Education degree, a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology and a Doctorate in Education. She is passionate about breaking down barriers of separateness. She truly believes that until human beings are able to view each other as the same, “otherness” will continue to cause hate and division.
Carrie Sekela has a BA from Dartmouth College in Art History modified with Studio Art and a Masters in Education from Harvard University. She was the Head hockey coach at the University of Windsor for 3 years. While at Dartmouth College, Carrie was a two sport NCAA athlete fWomen’s hockey and fastball teams. She was a sessional instructor at St. Clair College where she has taught Psychology and Sociology and is currently a high school teacher and hockey coach with A21Academy.
Chelsea Romualdi BA, MA, CPGC
Chelsea Romualdi is a former Youth Outreach Worker for the YMCA of Windsor. She has facilitated a number of presentations and workshops on the topic of digital dependency and online identity throughout the province. Her graduate studies utilized a media analysis to examine identity politics and health behaviours. Chelsea is currently a Gambling Counsellor at Problem Gambling Services at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor, Ontario, specializing in youth gambling/gaming/internet dependency. Aside from her counselling duties she helps lead outreach initiatives and informs the video game and internet dependency treatment program. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association and the Patient Family Engagement Council.
Dr. Valarie Waboose
Valarie G Waboose is an Anishinabe Kwe from Bkejwanong Territory (also known as Walpole Island First Nation). She is a great-grandmother of 1, grandmother of 7 and mother of two daughters. She is a second generation survivor of two parents that attended Shingwauk Indian Residential School and completed her Ph. D. dissertation (Trent) this year on the impacts of the compensation processes upon residential school survivors. Before completing her doctoral degree she obtained a B.A. at Trent University, an LL.B. at Windsor Law, and LL.M. at Osgoode Hall Law. In addition to her educational background she has worked at In-House Legal Counsel for Walpole Island First Nation for approximately 5 years, owned and operated a consultant business for 10 years specializing in policy development,strategic planning, program planning and evaluation. Valarie is also a Life Skills Coach and conducted Pre-Employment Training programmes for Ontario Works participants. Valarie is currently Assistant Professor at University of Windsor, Faculty of Law and teaches, Aboriginal Law, Indigenous Legal Traditions and Reconciliation and the Residential School Legacy. Her research interests include Indigenous Legal Traditions and methodologies, child welfare, reconciliation and the residential school legacy and indigenous justice systems.
Jessica Rachel Cook, is a First Nations artist with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Art and a Bachelor of Education degree and presently working towards her Master of Education. As the Education and Public Programs Coordinator at the Art Gallery of Windsor she enjoys designing curriculum linked art activities, coordinating educational and public programming and community outreach initiatives. For over twenty years Jessica has been combining traditional and contemporary art mediums to create original works of art for promotional and marketing materials for online, print, film & television.
Workshop 1 - 150 Years of Occupation - Theresa Sims (Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre/CEO of Native Women of Windsor) (am only)
This workshop will help participants understand the context and history of the last 150 years for First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Canada. Through poignant storytelling and the transfer of her in depth knowledge of what happened in Indian Residential Schools and other experiences of systemic oppression, elder Theresa Sims will inspire participants to become social justice advocates for the people who identity as First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
Workshop 2 - The Urban Indian - Jaimie Kechego (GECDSB)
Printmaking and gifting.
Students will be asked to design and paint/print their own interpretation of urban or rural life. For example; I may design a print that shows the land and river. Students will use materials provided, paintings/prints will dry and be framed. Students will gift their painting to one another. The whole point is that they will not be taking home their own painting/print but someone else’s.
Workshop 3 - I am Black: Exploring Identities and Our Blackness by Natalie Browning-Morgan (GECDSB) and Kaitlyn Ellsworth (GECDSB)
I am Black: Exploring Identities and Our Blackness workshop will explore the role of Black bodies in social justice movements past and present.
Workshop 4 - Identity/Person: Exploring Disability/Ability - David Robbins-Singh (Project Coordinator ALSO) & Walter Cassidy (GECDSB) (pm only)
Through personal stories, humour and engaging discussions, you will begin to examine and understand the complexity of identity for people with disabilities in Canada. Is a term to describe a disability empowering or limiting? What are the similarities with other forms of systemic oppression? Differences?Intersectionality? This workshop will educate and inspire students to take action in disability rights.
Workshop 5 - We are Not Part of the United States!: Sovereignty & Identity at Canada 150 - Enver Villamizar (GECDSB)
This workshop will address the ongoing integration of Canada into “Fortress North America” and the great speed with which it is being integrated at the time of Canada 150. Participants will discuss Canada's relationship with the United States as well as Mexico in the context of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement and the expansion of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD).
Workshop 6 - It’s Not in Your Head: Feminist Identity & Bias- Dr. Suzanne Bouclin (U. of Ottawa) (am only)
In this interactive workshop, students will gain practical tools and tips on how to uncover and address unconscious bias as well as to avoid engaging in it themselves. The workshop will focus on feminist identity and how to name and respond to experiences of bias based on one’s identity as a feminist and unpack some of the social/political/legal factors that foster such bias, including pervasive sexism, negative stereotypes about women in leadership positions, gendered views of femininity and masculinity, and broader systemic and institutional structures.
Workshop 7 - Beyond Walls & Cages: Incarceration, Identity, & Resilience - Linda McCurdy (Law Ofﬁce of Linda McCurdy)
This workshop will explore incarceration as it relates to someone's identity and how it affects their lives going forward in terms of human rights and dignity. Hands-on activities and interactive discussions will provide a platform to explore the systemic oppression in our criminal justice system. This workshop will challenge your assumptions and inspire you to take action.
Workshop 8 - Racial Identity: Science Fiction or Science Fact? - Dr. Venus Olla (GECDSB)
This workshop will address the issue of “race” from the standpoint of science; there is only one species, Homo sapiens. It will explore the science of skin colour and the geographical distribution of shades around the world. It will involve a deeper conversation about the real agenda behind race and it will question the need to use “race” as an identifier.
Workshop 9 - LGBTTIQQ and Canadian Identity - Carrie Sekela (St. Clair College)
This workshop will exploring Canadian LGBTTI identity, stereotypes and the words we use to describe ourselves and others.
Workshop 10 - Islam, Muslims, and Terrorism: Facts vs. Myths- Dr. El-Masri (U. of Windsor & Windsor Islamic Council)
This workshop will challenge your assumptions about Islam and those who practice this faith. Through hands-on activities and complex, interactive discussions, you will explore stereotypes and gain a deeper understanding of the facts surrounding Islam. This workshop will also help you understand the threats of Islamophobia and provide you with the tools needed to combat hate and oppression in our society.
Workshop 11 - Opening Our Arms to Life: Using Drama to Explore Refugee Identity - Charlotte LeFrank (W5 & CAS)
In this interactive workshop, artist and educator Charlotte LeFrank will share techniques used, and lessons learned, in working with a group of passionate Syrian teenagers who happened to find themselves living in Windsor, Ontario in the summer of 2016. Their deep need to share their stories transformed not only their lives but impacted the lives of many others in the process! This workshop will include an interactive discussion and will incorporate basic drama, sound and movement activities to bring social justice principles to life. No experience is required, all levels of ability are welcome!
Workshop 12 -Mental Health: #what #is #my #identity? @ insertidentityhere- Chelsea Romualdi (Hotel Dieu Health Care)
This presentation will explore the online identity/identities we present to our audience when utilizing various social media platforms. When creating our “online identity” there are a number of sociocultural factors that are considered when making decisions on whether to post certain photos, how we describe ourselves, likes and dislikes, and feelings we feed to our audience. How
do we navigate and represent gender, race, ethnicity, creed, nationality, etc…online? How do we compare ourselves to the online identity of others? The possibility of constantly reinventing and altering our online identity is at our fingertips. Does our online identity free us and allow for further self-expression? Or does it force us to box ourselves into fillable content platforms?
These questions and more will be addressed during this interactive presentation.
Workshop 13- The First People of This Land: Indigenous Identity & Rights - Dr. Valarie Waboose (Faculty of Law, U. of Windsor)
Did you know that when Christopher Columbus landed in North America in 1492 there were millions of Indigenous people living here already? According to recent archeological finds Indigenous people occupied this continent for at least 10,000 years before Columbus arrived. So, why do settlers claim civilization started upon arrival of Europeans? This workshop will scrutinize Canadian accounts of occupation of this continent from the eyes of an Indigenous person.
Worshop 14 - Reframing First Nations Art: Jessica Cook (Art Gallery of Windsor)
Reframing First Nations Art workshop aims to address and acknowledge 10, 000 years of First Nations People’s existence and contributions in response to Canada’s 150 years of occupation. A visual story of resilience and survival featuring First Nation works of art from past to present.