Listen up kids: hating hate is cool
By Jonathan Yazer
A major step has been taken toward the elimination of racism, hatred towards homosexuals and religious groups and other variations of intolerance in the London community.
The Youth Anti-Hate Program is a new approach to combating hate and promoting diversity, said Richard Hitchens, member of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Elimination of Hate and the London Race Relations Advisory Committee, which worked together to create the program. "It's about having students offer public education programming around their schools," he explained.
"They learned about what hate is, how to recognize it and practical things, including how to establish an anti-hate club," Hitchens noted, adding the anti-hate ambassadors will have access to resource ambassadors from the community.
"The resource ambassadors will ensure students get the information and support they need," said University Students' Council VP-campus issues Adrienne Kennedy, who is a resource ambassador for the program. "We do our best to raise awareness, making sure the students learn hate is inappropriate and morally wrong."
Ray Hughes, learning co-ordinator for violence prevention at the Thames Valley District School Board, expects the program will experience growing pains during its inaugural year. However, he explained it will ultimately be a rewarding experience. "It's another great opportunity to empower students to take action against violence and hate that we want to eradicate. We feel this is a great program," he said.
According to Hitchens, schools from both the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board will participate. "It's nice bringing them together. Traditionally, they do things independently, but this program brought them together in partnership," he added.
Kennedy noted a comparable program is in the development phase at Western. "This will be a good opportunity to strengthen the bonds between Western, London schools and the City of London," she said. "Western students wanting to get involved can come talk to me."
-with files from Anton Vidgen