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L.A. Matheson Secondary's Mustang Justice club is hosting a summit Thursday, Oct. 11 in partnership with the local female empowerment organization Global Girl Power.
The theme for International Day of the Girl as decided by the UN is: With Her: A Skilled GirlForce. The UN chooses a theme annually to commit resources to and focus on for the rest of the year.
L.A. Matheson students will get the opportunity to speak with members of the school community about the topic and other intersectional gender issues at the full-day interactive event. Social Justice program founder and Aboriginal Department head, teacher Annie Ohana, says about 130 students, teachers and volunteers in various classes from Grades 8 to 12 will be taking part.
"The idea really is just to talk about the issues," says Ohana. "There will be three workshops, where we will ask questions about topics such as consent culture, body-shaming, and the UN's goals and why the day exists. Adults will lead the dialogue… and we're also going to be thinking about something I do with my social justice classes, the 'three S's': social service, social responsibility and social justice. The plan of the day is to celebrate, it's to have these deeper dialogues."
Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh will be present to begin the day, and the event will finish with a Drum Café. Speakers include local community engagement specialist and educator Rochelle Prasad, as well as other current and recently graduated students.
The Mustang Justice program recently won the inaugural $10,000 Surrey Mayor's Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility. Ohana says some of the money has gone toward this event, with added support from Global Girl Power.
"It's great because with that seed money we can do a couple more things this year that will hopefully have a larger impact. Coming up we are co-producing a film and sitting on the board of the Vancouver South Asian International Film Festival."
Ohana hopes the International Day of the Girl event will continue next year, possibly becoming something every school celebrates annually, either collaboratively or at individual schools, like Orange Shirt Day.
~ written by Laura Johnston