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Inclusion Day conference at York looks to build allies for equity

Inclusion Day conference at York looks to build allies for equity

What does equity look like for everyone? The upcoming Inclusion Day: Building Allies for Equity conference, hosted by York University’s Centre for Human Rights (CHR), will tackle the meaning of equity next Wednesday.

The conference will take place on Inclusion Day, Jan. 18, from 11:30am to 8pm, at 280N York Lanes, Keele campus. Everyone is welcome to attend the free event.

This is the third annual Inclusion Day at York. Guest speakers will provide participants with internal and external community perspectives “that will no doubt enhance our path of continued learning about the wealth that diversity brings,” says Noël Badiou, director of York’s CHR.

“Inclusion Day provides an occasion to highlight the diversity on our campus and the value and importance of ensuring that each and every member of our greater community, students, staff and faculty, is included in York's activities, whether in the classroom, during extracurricular events, or academic and administrative meetings,” says Badiou.

Left: Noël Badiou

This year's theme of "building allies for equity" is in keeping with CHR's goal of further enhancing the individual understanding of barriers faced by certain members of the York community with a view to exploring ways that we can help eliminate these barriers, he says.

“The key in creating a more equitable community is to further each of our individual understanding of the incredibly rich diversity of our community and be empowered with knowledge about how to value this diversity by being more inclusive, as well as appreciative and respectful of our differences. It is a tall order, but one that can be accomplished by having a growing number of partners and supporters within our community.”

Director of the City of Toronto’s Equity & Inclusion Office, Uzma Shakir will deliver the opening keynote address at noon, along with a panel comprised of York University students. A host of talks will follow throughout the afternoon.

The first sessions will include York PhD psychology candidate Kaley Roosen (BSC Spec. Hons. ’07, MA ’09) and Access York discussing disability awareness: The Power of Language, and Professor Faisal Bhabha and second-year law student Adrienne Lipsey of Osgoode Hall Law School looking at the meaning of religious accommodation. The Aboriginal Student Association at York will host a workshop exploring notions of identity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth and the impact of gender roles and access to cultural resources in urban Aboriginal communities. York student Sana Siddiqui, an MSW student, will explore the historical and political roots of Islamophobia and its current manifestations through a variety of hands-on activities, video clips, case studies and interactive discussion. She will also offer strategies for building networks of allies against Islamophobia.

During the second round of sessions at 2:30pm, Jennifer Dalton (LLM ’06, PhD ’10), a visiting scholar with York’s Centre for Refugee Studies, will present “From Kelowna to Attawapiskat: Forging Aboriginal-Canada Alliances to Build Aboriginal Equity”. She will discuss the continuing inequities that plague Aboriginal communities across the country despite the Kelowna Accord, which sought to bridge the inequity gap. This interactive workshop will emphasize the need to forge positive alliances between Aboriginal communities and the government. Bobby Siu from York’s Equity Studies Department will address “Building Allies for Equity in the Workplace: Some Considerations for Persons with Disabilities”.

A third group of sessions will begin at 4pm, covering topics that look at the purpose of “voice” if no one is listening and relationships for creating change and inclusion. Ragini Sharma, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education, will hold an interactive workshop Broadening the Vision, Deepening the Roots, from 4 to 5:15pm, where participants can talk about their experiences of religious diversity on campus and will be challenged to broaden their vision beyond an identity based solely on religion.

An evening reception with keynote speaker Tim McCaskell, a social justice advocate and author, will follow the final sessions.

For a full lineup of sessions and speakers, visit the Inclusion Day web page on the Centre for Human Rights website. To register, click here.

For more information, contact Nythalah Baker, CHR senior adviser, education & communications, at or ext. 55682.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.