Here's what the Education Department at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) has been up to over the last month.
The new school year is well underway, and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) education team has been incredibly busy delivering programs to elementary and secondary school students across Canada.
The education team remains on the front lines, teaching the history of antisemitism and all forms of hate, while also developing tools for young people to use to counter this hate in their schools and communities. One of the programs, Roots of Hate and Intolerance, is requested on a regular basis. This workshop looks at some examples of the history of hate in Canada, including slavery, residential schools, the Chinese Head Tax, antisemitism and Japanese internment during the Second World War, followed by an examination of how hate exists and manifests today in Canada. The program closes with strategies to create positive change in our world.
Students respond well to this program, as they build an understanding of how the history of hate has influenced the way our world interacts today, and the responsibility we each have in learning this history and challenging our personal biases that have been learned in order to make our world a better place.
One of the teachers who booked this workshop this month sent the following note:
Thank you so much for your workshop this morning. The workshop was informative and offered important connections with what we have done so far in the grade 12 Equity and Social Justice course. The examples of racism in Canada going back all the way to slavery in the 17th Century show that this problem is embedded in our history and persists up to today. This is an important idea to acknowledge, and it confronts us with our personal and collective responsibility to take action for change.
I really appreciated your presentation style as well. You discussed some historical examples and complex ideas in a clear and accessible way while, at the same time, engaged with the audience as intelligent young adults.
FSWC Education in the News
After an antisemitic video surfaced last year, a North Bay, Ont. high school has made efforts to educate its students about the Holocaust and hate speech.
On Sept. 17, 2021, North Bay police investigated what they called an "antisemitic incident" which happened at École Secondaire Catholique Algonquin.
Some students allegedly recorded video on school property where they were chanting antisemitic slurs and raising their arms in what appeared to be the Nazi salute.
In an email to CBC News, the North Bay Police Service said they did not lay charges, but the students involved were cautioned, and the school took action to educate them about the Holocaust and the impact of antisemitism.
"All students at École Secondaire Catholique Algonquin have been provided with enhanced Holocaust education," the email said.
When news broke of the incident at the school, the Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies got involved.
FSWC's Director of Education Melissa Mikel also joined CBC's Morning North with Markus Schwabe to discuss the Holocaust education that continues at the school.
Tour for Humanity: Notes from the Road
We were excited to have both of the Tour for Humanity buses on display at our annual Spirit of Hope benefit on October 25th! We were especially excited to introduce keynote speaker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to our travelling classroom.
Starting in November, FSWC will have both buses on the road. Watch for us on your daily commute! Plans are currently taking place for an east coast tour with the new Tour for Humanity in the spring, and then the bus will be heading west in the fall! The original bus will continue to educate students locally, across the Greater Toronto Area.
Education is the route to positive change, and we are in the driver's seat!
The Arnold and Esther Tuzman Memorial Holocaust Teach-In at Gratz College presents "Battling Indifference: How We Teach the Holocaust" with Elisha Wiesel, in Conversation with the Honourable Irwin Cotler. Moderated by Gratz alumna Randi Boyette. Sunday, November 6, 2022, 1:00 - 6:00 pm ET (online and in-person at Gratz). This full day of learning includes several sessions for the community, opportunities for middle and high school teachers, as well as CLE credit for attorneys.