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Parents, community members invited to 2019 Safe Spaces Symposium

Vaping, rage, gender identity, race, and reconciliation – these are all topics very current topics, and ones that can be difficult to navigate and discuss.

For the Limestone District School Board’s (LDSB) Parent Involvement Committee, that is precisely why those topics were among those chosen to be discussed at their annual fall symposium.

Aimed primarily at the LDSB parent community, the 2019 Safe Spaces Symposium aims to shed light on some of the most discussed issues in today’s society, while also dispelling myths surrounding each of the topics which can rapidly spread online. For each of the subjects that will be discussed, both real and false information circulates on social media and other online platforms, so it is important for parents and community members to hear about the topics from credible sources, explained Suche James, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator for the LDSB.

“There’s so much of these conversations happening in our world, whether it be in locally, provincially, nationally, globally, and, unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about these topics,” James said.

“This is an opportunity for us to not only talk about the different communities that make up our overall community, but also to dispel some myths… break down the barriers and stereotypes as part of a bigger conversation.”

Each of the four guest speakers featured at the event will address different topics:

  • Jamil Jivani, a lawyer, educator, author, and award-winning activist, will discuss Why Young Men: Rage Race and the Crisis of Identity
  • Kevin Lamoureux, faculty member at the University of Winnipeg and Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, will discuss Mental Health, Well-being and Reconciliation
  • Dr. Lee Airton, Gender and Sexuality Studies professor at Queen’s University, will discuss How to be Gender Friendly
  • Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health, with discuss The Dangers of Vaping

“Yes, the topics are intentionally current,” said James with a laugh. “If these conversations are happening around our students, or are conversations our students might be having, we want our parent community and members of the community to have them, too. This event will allow us to all have those conversations together.”

The event will also feature a Community Carousel, with different local organizations coming together to allow Symposium-goers the chance to learn more about different communities and supports available in Kingston and the area. HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS), the Islamic Society of Kingston, Trans Family Kingston, and the Kingston Jewish Council are among those groups expected to be represented at the Community Carousel, James explained.

“There is so much good stuff happening in our community, but we don’t necessarily know it. This was an opportunity for us to share with our parent community in particular the different supports that we have out there, not just for our students, but also for the parents,” he expressed, noting that the entire Symposium is focused on the idea of bringing different aspects of the community together and learning how to ensure all members of the community feel safe, particularly at school.

“We hope that our students are able to come to school being comfortable with who they are, and feeling good about who they are – that is the end goal.” he said.

The 2019 Safe Spaces Symposium will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at St. Lawrence College, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with refreshments and an opportunity to visit the Community Carousel. Speakers will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a break for lunch. Admission and lunch are free, but registration for the event is required as space is limited. To register, click here.

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