Amherstview, ON - The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) brought their mobile human rights education bus Tour for Humanity to Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) Catholic School in Amherstview on Monday, where students in grades 5-8 learned about human rights-related topics from a Canadian perspective.
The focus of the initiative is to shed light on the Holocaust and difficulties faced by marginalized communities today and throughout history.
“We hope by exploring sensitive topics like cultural genocide and the Holocaust we will inspire young people to take a stand against racism, hate, injustice and intolerance and contribute to building a more equitable society”, said Elena Kingsbury, senior educator for the FSWC.
The program is geared towards students in grades 3-12 and uses multimedia and interactive components to teach students about the dangers of hate crimes and cyberbullying and discusses some of the darker moments in history.
The presentation delivered to intermediate students was 60 minutes in length and while quite in-depth, covered a lot of topics beginning with the Holocaust and moving though time to explore the ill treatment of immigrant populations to Canada’s west and Indigenous children and their families across the nation during assimilation.
When asked by Kingsbury why this history is important to share with youth, OLMC students were eager to share their thoughts. “I think the whole point of learning about history is, so we don’t repeat it”, said Colton, Grade 8. “At school sometimes people our age throw words around, in a discriminatory way. I believe this carelessness can be corrected through education”, said Amelia, Grade 8.
Tour for Humanity has been in operation since 2013, and in the time has reached over 175,000 students. The bus can accommodate groups of up to 30 people and serves as an education centre for students, teachers and community leaders.
The Tour for Humanity bus will be heading east to Brockville this week, then onto schools in Quebec and New Brunswick later this month.