On December 10th, 2020 we hosted a very meaningful virtual commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights attended by TNO staff, Thorncliffe Park residents, and Overland Learning Centre learners and Teachers. Rumana Islam acknowledged the land of the indigenous people we stand on, followed by Fawzia Haji and Enas Habeeb who acknowledged the challenging times we are living due the COVID- 19 pandemic, a health crisis which have affected every single aspect of our lives. It has also exposed the inadequacy of social, economic, and political models in every region. A minute of silence was held to honor the lives of people who have died during the pandemic.
We were very honored to have as guest speaker, the honorable Kathleen Wynne, MPP for Don Valley West and former Premier of Ontario who inspired us with a very thoughtful message about the history and evolution of human rights, the achievements, challenges and the importance to continue working in the promotion and protection of human rights by being vigilant and involved in the issues affecting our communities.
We also listened to Malini Singh, Manager of Newcomer Support Services of TNO- The Neighbourhood Organization; Lisa Kattelus, Manager of Overland Learning Centre; and Cesar Peralta, Coordinator of the Human Rights Week. They highlighted the importance to continue promoting Human Rights education as a powerful tool to build a safer, fairer and more equal and inclusive society.
Fatihat Odunaiya and Azka Arif, SATEC at W.A Porter Collegiate Institute students recited “The Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou and “But One Country” by Rod Duncan. Suwinya Rajapakse and Riyan Mohamed from Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute closed the celebration by singing “Scars to your Beautiful” by Allesia Cara.
It was a very moving and powerful “Human Rights Day” commemoration organized by: Enas Habeeb, Fawzia Haji, Paula Veloso, Rumana Islam, Siham Abosita, Slavica Simic, Vaitheki Sivaram and Cesar Peralta.