students participate in international women’s day event
On Mar. 4, young men and women from Westview, Emery, Jeffreys and other secondary schools in our area met at York University’s Student Centre and shared how women and men can better understand and appreciate each other.
The BeLovEd movement sponsored this event. The Black Creek Community Health Centre launched this education campaign in 2009 to promote healthy relationships between genders.
Lisa Brown, of the Black Creek Community Health Centre and comedian Owen Blakka Ellis co-hosted the event.
Other leaders were Kevin Sutton of the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) Equity Program, Kelli Leizer, teacher at Westview, Jason To, teacher at C.W. Jeffreys, Carmen Fuentes, teacher at Emery and Jen Wheelan of York University social work.
Sgt. Steve Hicks of the Toronto Police Services 31 Division gave an inspiring talk on how to avoid unhealthy relationships.
The following are student’s personal stories of their impressions of the gathering.
KATHY NGUYEN, STUDENT WESTVIEW CSS:
Recently, I had the privilege of attending an awe-inspiring conference at York University, led by the BeLovEd Movement where I participated in some incredible workshops.
The purpose of the conference, entitled Be Inspired, Love Yourself, Educate Others held on Mar. 4 at York University, was to instill inspiration, love, and greater knowledge into the students who attended.
As someone who was in attendance, I can honestly say that they had successfully achieved their goal.
The conference, which coincided with International Women’s Day, delivered a powerful and important message through fascinating speeches, video screenings, and performances. We were educated on everything from healthy relationships, to gender stereotypes, as well as the prevention of violence against young women.
Overall, the theme of this entire day was the importance of equality: treating everyone equally regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or class.
The people I met, the speeches I heard, and the workshops I took part in taught me that love and acceptance should be the guiding forces in our lives.
I hope that one day, for the sake of our mothers, daughters, sisters, and suffering females around the world, love will finally overcome hatred, and violence against women will be a thing in the past, never to be looked upon again.
ANDY RAGHUNANDAN, STUDENT WESTVIEW CSS:
At the BeLovEd Movement Conference, I increased my knowledge about abuse and brutality towards women.
The entire Generation Change group and I watched videos about relationships, then as a group we discussed and gave our opinions about them.
After, the Generation Change group had split up into smaller groups, we talked about different topics, including, people who are survivors of emotional and physical abuse in their every day relationships.
I was in a group established for guys only. What I learned was, women, can influence how a man acts. For example, when a man is with a woman, he wants to portray himself as a tough, cool, smooth guy, without any feelings. However when he sits among men he is comfortable with, he can express and talk about his feelings much more.
After all, the day was successful and awesome. I am glad to be a part of Generation Change and I thank all of the coordinators and sponsors for putting together this wonderful learning experience.