Caption: Equity speaker Chris D'souza visited Simcoe and taught students and staff lessons in dignity, diversity, equity and inclusiveness.
Each and every student has a fundamental right to an education. They must receive education free from all forms of bias and discrimination. Dignity and Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness for all.
These are the key messages of Chris D’souza’s presentations for students and adults in education. He addresses race, culture, religion, gender, disability, size, age, sexual orientation and more, within the context of bias, stereotyping and discrimination.
Chris D’souza spent Tuesday, November 24 in Simcoe – the morning at West Lynn, the afternoon at Elgin, and after school at Elgin with staff from both schools. D'souza encourages all audience members to think about their thinking, about why they think the way they think and to ask questions. Rather than fear, hostility or bias toward differences, he encourages embracing and celebrating differences and striving to learn more about diverse cultures, traditions, life styles and interests. “Stretch your mind,” he recommends. “You become a better person because of this learning.” D'souza says, “Education can eradicate stereotypes.”
At both schools D'souza did two performances for students – one for K – 5 and another for 6 – 8. His performances included the reading of three books he has written and the singing of songs he has written, including, “I Want You to Be Nice to Me.” To view and listen, visit http://chrisdsouza.ca/. Students were prepared ahead of time in class to participate in the singing of his song, which addresses numerous types of discrimination. Through humour, personal stories and experiences, facts and the arts, Chris’s powerful, thought-provoking message was enjoyed by students and staff.
To the students he advises, “Be proud of who you are. Know about your identity. Own it. Celebrate it.” And don’t accept discrimination against others or bullying toward others.
To the staff, he told them that everything they do either replicates the hegemony / oppression or it interrupts it. He asks to shift the lens to think about those who are not included in all that we do and to develop mechanisms in schools to minimize the exclusion.