Thursday, 19 November 2015

Debunk the Myth

Thank you to everyone who made last night's Global Citizenship Summit such a resounding success. The food was delicious, the speakers were thoughtful and motivating, and the entire night was a celebration of our multicultural community here at Lambton College. 

Gilad Cohen of Jayu captured the audience as we previewed the
trailer for Jayu's 2015 Film Festival.  
We were fortunate to hear from Gilad Cohen, founder and Executive Director of Jayu, which operates the Toronto International Human Rights Film Festival. Gilad shared with us the difference that art can make as we struggle to begin a conversation around specific human rights abuses: art can provide common ground and a way in for so many of us. Gilad has visited Lambton before, and I hope he'll be back again--he's a captivating and motivating speaker. (He also gave us an update on Jayu's #CapturetheStreets project, now headed for a Harvard exhibit! And if you'd like to help ensure Jayu's mission continues, you can contribute to their Kickstarter campaign: more on that soon.)

We also heard from Aruba Mahmud and Rezan Mosa, two Muslim women who shared with us their experiences of wearing the hijab and niqab in Sarnia. Both clarified that choosing to cover themselves in public has nothing to do with oppression: instead, both understand their decision to veil themselves as a sign of their freedom to make their own choices and follow their faith. 

Our second keynote speaker of the night was Leo Johnson, a graduate of McMaster University and one of the final five in the CBC's Next Great Prime Minister competition. Leo is now at work on Empowerment Squared, an organization that's working on many important projects, including opening the first post-war library in Leo's native Liberia. Leo challenged us to consider the ways in which our (mis)perceptions of Africa and of each other shape our actions. 

Thank you to Ruth Geurts, Amy Weiler, and the organizational team that made this evening such a success. Thank you to our speakers and sponsors, and to the food vendors who prepared such a delicious dinner. And thank you, especially, to the students. So many Lambton College students volunteered to run cultural tables, sharing details of their traditions and beliefs; other students helped to prepare the room, to serve dinner, and to clean up afterwards. 

This college is a better place for our diversity. 

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