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Everybody has the Right

April 20, 2021

We all have the right... to learn, to play and to be proud of who we are. We all have the right to be treated equally, to feel safe, to stand up for what we believe in and to make our world a better place.

We have the right to embrace the vast diversity within the WSD and our schools, and to celebrate what makes each of us different — and what makes us strong as a whole.

Everybody has the Right - To Journey - Spring 2019

Intentions: Each person, classroom, school and/or community is on a human rights journey. They may just be starting to understand their rights, learning to deepen their compassion for others or writing social justice policies in WSD.

Regardless, we are all on a journey. We can be at different parts, but still celebrate the journey together.
Our journey is richer by gathering, acknowledging and sharing with each other. We will deepen our purpose, our intentions and our goals by looking behind and ahead while reflecting on today.
Our goals are:

  1. to understand the land that we live on and our responsibility towards action with that new knowledge;
    2. to reflect on our past and authentically plan for the future with the whole school community engaged.

Everybody has the Right - To Belong - Spring 2018

WSD students gathered at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Feb. 21 and 22 for the second installment of this year's Everybody has the Right program.

The theme for this year is "Everybody Has the Right To Belong." The February workshops focused on Indigenous people and Newcomers to Canada.

Brock Corydon students led a presentation in the morning sessions on Indigenous history, which segued into a discussion of the Seven Teachings.

In the afternoon sessions, Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute related their experiences as newcomers to Canada.

"These students will tell their stories of being refugees…why they left and what it was like to come to Canada with the snow, the climate and the new people," said WSD Education for Sustainable Development Consultant Chantelle Cotton. "They will tell how they developed their own sense of belonging here."

Both presentations inspired reflections from all of the school groups in attendance before they undertook a massive group project.

At the centre of the workshop floor was a large map of Canada with no defined borders—a representation of how the land existed prior to European contact. 

Students created their own visual emblems on foam stamps, which they then used to imprint their own symbols on the map of Canada.

"If you look at this map, it has rocks, trees, water and mountains…but it is not colonized," Ms. Cotton said. "In a very symbolic sense, this is a way at looking at belonging and bringing together the stories of our time on this land." 

Students were asked to contemplate the importance of sharing and receiving, and listening with one's heart.

"Students here today are both giving and receiving information, and that helps create a balanced life. You can't have balance if it's just one or the other," Ms. Cotton said.

Robert H. Smith students Thando Saka and Amélie Haid-Essiembre said the map-making exercise brought students from many different schools together.

"We're making new friends, we're learning about new stuff and we're working as a group," Thando said.

"We need to learn to work with many different people, and it is better to learn that when you are young," added Amélie.

The previous Everybody has the Right workshop, held at the museum in November, focused on the individual and the community. The final set of workshops, scheduled for May, will focus on healthy relationships.

We belong - November 21, 2017

Student delegates from across WSD gathered at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Nov. 21 and 22 to lay the groundwork for this year's Everybody has the Right program.

Everybody has the Right (EHTR) began in 2014 as a way for WSD students to become involved in the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. EHTR has since become an important part of the division's annual programming, teaching students about human rights, equality, acceptance and celebrating our differences.

This year's theme is "We Belong." Students are discussing the various types of communities they are part of, and how we all have the right to belong as unique, vital components of these communities.

"Last year, students explored their own identities—this year, we're looking at how they fit together into a community," said Chantelle Cotton, WSD's Education for Sustainable Development Consultant.

Students arrived at the museum to find a massive, undefined map in the centre of the main floor. Over each day's session, students would fill out the map with their own communities to ultimately create a representation of Winnipeg School Division.

Students also worked with puppet artist Shawn Kettner to create masks that would be placed on the giant map.

"On the inside of the masks, students are writing all of the things that define who they are," Ms. Cotton said. "Students are decorating the face of the masks to represent how they want to be seen metaphorically."

As an added dimension, each school group was given just one or two of the tools and materials they needed for the project; they had to meet and negotiate with other school groups to obtain other essentials like glue, scissors, markers, etc.

"I think the best way to interact with people you don't know is to have them work on a project together with a common objective. Once you get over the fear of talking to a stranger, you get to know them, become friends and finish the project," said Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute student Anthony Manansala. 

Students also spent time discussing their masks with students from other schools in impromptu sharing sessions.

"Is think the point is to open everyone's points of view and be able to accept one another as individuals," said Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute student Riane Radovan. 

The student masks were later added to the giant map as a mosaic of many identities.

Students wrapped each day by working to create their own dream communities with components like food, shelter, laws, human rights and more.

"Students may either create the community they already live in, or the community they wish they lived in," Ms. Cotton said. She added that imagination could be a powerful vehicle for change. "If we don't imagine better communities, things will stay the same."

Moving forward, students will be contemplating the concept of "Three Things for Canada." The idea is based on Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's "Three Things for Calgary" challenge. Students are being encouraged to consider one individual action, one school action and one WSD action they could take to make the world a better place. 

Further EHTR gatherings will take place at the museum in February and May, allowing students and teachers to explore the We Belong theme further.

A Connection with International Storytelling Festival at CMHR - April 26, 2017

 Students from across Winnipeg School Division (WSD) and participants of the International Storytelling Festival connected April 26 and 27, at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to celebrate the finale of the WSD Everybody has the Right (EHTR) program for 2016/17. 

"This was an exciting year of learning for all of us – learning about our identities, about building respectful and responsible relationships, and about sharing our stories to better understand each other and the world we all occupy," said Sherri Rollins, WSD Board of Trustees Chair. "Everybody has the Right is a program that was initiated in Winnipeg School Division in 2014 as a way for our students to become involved in the exciting opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It has now become part of the division's annual programming."

Throughout the school year and during two previous assemblies, WSD students have learned about the art of storytelling and how Indigenous children are traditionally taught, with storytelling beginning after the snow blankets the earth. Honouring and respecting the way Indigenous communities learn from each other is a major theme in the Everybody has the Right program.

"I really liked how the human books took time out of their day to share about their past," said Austin Smith, a Grade 6 student at École Victoria-Albert School. "They helped me to be open and think more about other cultures."

The EHTR Human Library events over the past year have helped students consider "identity" from a variety of different lenses as they develop their own sense of who they are. Today and tomorrow, students are learning about artifact storytelling with international storyteller Jamie Oliviero and Chris Scholl from DNA Rhythms. 

"One of the most meaningful, physical actions we can do as people is to reach out our hands to connect with others," said Oliviero. "That is what is at the heart of this experience."

As a finale art piece for the 2016/17 EHTR, students will take part in creating giant puzzles, or story circles, on the floor of the John & Bonnie Buhler Hall at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The story circles represent both the individuality and connectivity across Winnipeg School Division. WSD Art Consultant Joe Halas says the story circles, one created on each day of the student assemblies, are the beginning of a larger art making process.

"After assembling the story circles and developing personal interweaving stories, the students will spend the next two months before Summer break working on their puzzle pieces, transforming them into colourful narrative artworks," said Halas. "The story circle will be reassembled as one giant and complete artwork in the Fall as part of Culture Days." WSD will announce details of the final assembly at the beginning of the 2017/18 school year.

Celebrating Diversity Walk - May 20, 2016

Over 2,000 Winnipeg School Division (WSD) students are walking a circle around the Canadian Museum of Human Rights on Friday, May 20.

School groups have created spectacular silk art banners depicting the students’ voice on human rights and equity. Banner carriers will lead each school as they make the walk from The Forks Festival Stage north along the walking path, circling the museum and returning back to the starting point.

The event marks the finale of another successful year of incorporating Everybody has the Right programming into WSD’s everyday curriculum and learning.

“Our year started with a fantastic student summit with Mayor Brian Bowman and his challenge to all students to celebrate the rich cultures of our people,” said Rob Riel, Director, Aboriginal Education and Newcomer Services, WSD. “Students all across WSD really took that challenge to heart and came up with very thoughtful ideas and actions to help work toward ending racism in our city.”

Students met again with Mayor Bowman in January for a ‘check-in’ where they shared their ideas and sense of responsibility to prevent racism from developing.

Parents and media are invited to join WSD students at the day long Celebrating Diversity event and walk.

Everybody has the Right video gallery

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