Valuing Diversity

February 1, 2017 - 4 minutes read

Ridgeview teachers continually provide opportunities to bring the real world to the classroom.

This year, Ridgeview invited Neonology to speak with the Grade 6 classes about the importance of making sure everyone feels safe and welcome in their school and classrooms.

Neonology was developed in 2009 to create more welcoming and inclusive communities for all youth in the Greater Vancouver Area. The program has been provided and influenced over 12,000 elementary and secondary school students as well as adults in education, social work and other areas. Its anti-oppression framework aims to provide the youth and adults with the understanding the dynamics of oppression and the collective responsibility to be a part of the solution: “Be the Change You Want to See”

Did you know that Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy?  Because we value diversity and understand that having a variety of languages, cultures, genders, and experiences makes us a fundamentally stronger community, respecting each others differences is a cornerstone of how we treat each other.

Here’s what some of the Grade 6 students had to say about their time with Neonology.

Neonology is about diversity, stereotypes and points of view. The ‘neon’ means different colours, or opinions. The ‘ology’ means ‘the study of’ like it always does.  Julius, Division 3

We played a game that had to do with racism. In the game, some people were allowed to walk around, some people were allowed to open their eyes but had to stay still, and some could not move at all and had to keep their eyes closed. This was meant to symbolize racism amongst three classes. I got to keep my eyes open but was not allowed to walk around. I felt proud of myself that I could open my eyes, but I wanted to walk as well. It made me feel disappointed that I couldn’t move just because I only had one tap on my shoulder. One of my friends, who had to keep her eyes closed, said that she felt left out. This activity helped me learn that you shouldn’t discriminate against appearances and social statuses because everyone is equal and have the same rights.  Sua, Division 3

I think that the main thing Neonology was trying to teach us was that everybody should be treated equally, and if we could do that then I think the world would be a better place.  Thomas, Division 3

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” was a saying that they used. This sentence is simple but it is important because it explained their whole presentation…it was helpful and we learned not to discriminate. Plus, we got some cool neon sunglasses to see the “brighter perspective”. Chloe, Division 3

In 1971, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau called for Canadians to accept and value our  differences. “Uniformity is nether desirable nor possible in a country the size of Canada. We should not even be able to agree upon the kind of Canadian to choose as a model, let alone persuade most people to emulate it. What the world should be seeking, and what in Canada we must continue to cherish, are not concepts of uniformity but human values: compassion, love and understanding.”

Our thanks to Neonology and the Grade 6 classes for helping is to us to see this “brighter perspective” so clearly.

(Submitted by Nathan Blackburn and Division 3 students)