The Isms Workshop on Human Rights for Making Noise @Humber

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By Hannah Diggins

Entering this workshop, I believed I had a firm grasp on the types of discrimination that happen in our world and on the campus of Humber College. Being in the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care, this subject is covered in detail, so I was surprised by how much I learned when I attended my first workshop for Making Noise @Humber which is run by The Urban Alliance on Race Relations. This workshop was led by The Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity, a very important and knowledgeable campus resource located in room B304 at the North Campus of Humber College. One of the most important pieces of knowledge that all participants learned when attending this work shop was the definitions of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. Although it seems like simple information, it was important to understand that discrimination is acting on stereotypes and prejudice. The 17 Grounds of Discrimination were discussed next, which was the part of the workshop I learned the most from.

Although I was aware of some of the more well-known types of discrimination, it was helpful to learn in detail about each of them and the types of discrimination I was less aware of such as discrimination against people who receive public assistance and people who have a record of offence. The two types of discrimination that were most recently added and interesting to learn about as well were discrimination against Gender Identity, which is how a person refers to their inner sense of being male or female and Gender Expression, which is how someone displays their gender identity such as through clothes, hair etc. This is one of the things that stuck out to me; to learn that someone’s gender should have the most to do with how they identify themselves not their biology. I can now see how every type of discrimination comes into play in society and how intersectionality comes into play as well. When people are facing one type of discrimination, it is likely that many other types may come into play as well, making their life that much more difficult.

This workshop helped strengthen my knowledge about the discrimination that is occurring both close to me and in the outside world as well. I am entering into a field that is designed to help people who are not only struggling personally, but struggling with the unfair labels and stereotypes that society puts them in. Because many types of discrimination can occur at once, I will have a greater understanding of all the feelings and struggles each person I work with is going through, rather than just thinking inside the box. The facilitator of this workshop helped to inform me of my responsibility to report discrimination, harassment and prejudice in school and outside and I now feel much more passionate about this. I am now equipped with a great resource too! I did not know there was a place in Humber College that deals with discrimination and I can now point the people I work with or the people around me to this resource, allowing them to have further help by people who truly understand and can properly investigate suspected discrimination.

For further development, I would like to gain more knowledge about what the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity can offer myself and students on campus. Because our time was limited and many questions and discussions arose quickly, it would be helpful to meet with the staff at this resource to gain a more detailed knowledge about what they deal with. They could also help me learn about the Human Rights Code of Ontario and the Humber Human Rights Code, which many students do not know the details of. Because many students do not know what is included in this code, they may not be aware of their rights as a student and a person. This could be something that I could possibly help spread the word about through workshops or posters for example. I would also like to make contacts with other agencies in the Toronto area who help deal with discrimination because this is something that would be very valuable in my field and is a great topic to be as knowledgeable as possible about.

Hannah Diggins is a member of the Making Noise @Humber Student Committee and is also a Placement Student enrolled in the Child and Youth Worker Program at Humber College.

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