Travelling classroom aims to counter hate

October 30, 2019


Tour for Humanity visits St. Peter Secondary School students in Peterborough. (Peterborough Examiner)

High school student India Travers is dumbfounded when she reflects on the Holocaust and how many Jewish people died.

"It's crazy to think that 6 million Jews were killed," said India, 14.

The St. Peter Secondary School student and her Grade 9 classmates spent an hour Wednesday on the Tour for Humanity bus.

The 30-seat, state-of-the-art vehicle is program of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization that's committed to countering anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in Canada through education.

The mobile unit travels to organizations and schools across Ontario to educate audiences on tolerance, human rights and justice.

Emily Barsanti-Innes, FSWC education associate, spoke to the teens about Adolf Hitler, the Holocaust, Indian Residential Schools and genocide, for instance.

Images related to the topics of discussion were projected onto an interior wall of the bus, while students sat in movie-theatre type seating for the presentation.

Hitler and the persecution of Jews and Indigenous children seemed to stand out most to the students.

Learning about how people were mistreated or killed because of their race, sexuality or appearance really stuck with her, India said.

"It's important to learn about what happened back then and how it has changed now and how it hasn't, too," she said.

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