Indigenous board member accuses Dalhousie University of entrenched racism

first_imgHALIFAX – An Indigenous member of Dalhousie University’s board of governors says she was subjected to institutionalized racism at a recent meeting, prompting an apology from the board’s chairman who insisted Dalhousie is not led by racists.Kati George-Jim of the T’Sou-ke First Nation in British Columbia, a student representative on the Halifax university’s oversight board, says she was repeatedly interrupted, patronized and ignored at a meeting in June.When she spoke up — admittedly breaking rules that govern the meetings — George-Jim says she was harshly reprimanded by the board chairman, Lawrence Stordy.“The chair lost his temper. It was full-blown how you discipline a child,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “He was yelling and no one in the room stopped him or challenged him.”After leaving the meeting in tears, George-Jim wrote a six-page letter to the board reflecting on what she called systemic racism at Dalhousie.“The aggression I felt resonated through my body. I couldn’t breathe,” she said in the letter. “The antagonistic reaction I endured from the chair is what I have been struggling to grasp.”She read the letter at a board meeting Tuesday, something one board member said shows the university wants to hear her voice and work harder on equity, diversity and inclusion.“I welcomed the letter by Kati because we have to deal with these issues head on,” said Kevin Hewitt, an ex-officio member of the board of governors, chairman of the senate and associate professor of physics and atmospheric science. “We’re not putting our heads in the sand thinking this doesn’t exist.”“The fact that she was given an opportunity to speak uninterrupted is reflective of our efforts to deal with difficult issues of institutionalized racism and all the other ‘isms’ that are not unique to Dalhousie,” said Hewitt, who is African-Canadian. “She was provided with a platform and the time to express rightly her opinion on these issues … this is a positive step towards reconciliation.”Stordy said he apologized to George-Jim and that her views are very important to him, the board and the university at large.“I was sorry she felt disrespected and wanted to make sure she knew we wanted to hear her voice,” he said in an email. “I truly regret the unintended impact that my comments had on Ms. George-Jim.”Stordy said George-Jim was given the “unique opportunity” to speak at length at Tuesday’s meeting, and said her voice is important as the university continues on the path to reconciliation.The incident represents a blow for a university that has faced scandals in recent years.In late 2014, a group of male Dalhousie University School of Dentistry students were found posting misogynistic comments online about female classmates, a discovery that roiled the university for months.Dalhousie was rocked by another online scandal less than a year later, when an Instagram account called The Dal Jungle with sexual photos of female students was exposed.“The dentistry incident forced us to examine ourselves like in any crisis, and so the question of institutionalized racism was a part of those conversations that followed,” Hewitt said. “We have to work to become aware of implicit or unconscious bias that is a product of the society in which we exist.”While Stordy called George-Jim’s speech “powerful,” noting that it touched on a number of things including missing Indigenous women, he took issue with the suggestion that he discriminated against her.“No one on the board or in management is a racist obviously and we have promoted diversity tirelessly as a board strategic objective,” Stordy said.George-Jim, a fourth-year political science student, called the incident “probably the most overt form of discrimination I have ever felt in my life,” but stopped short of calling board members racist.“I’m not calling anyone racist,” she said. “Not one person is racist, it’s the system we work in and operate under.”George-Jim added: “It’s entrenched in Dalhousie in general. I sit on a room full of portraits of old white guys staring down at me.”Candace Thomas, a member of Dalhousie’s board of governors and a partner at Halifax law firm Stewart McKelvey, said great strides have been made to increase diversity among the university’s governing body.“The majority of people on the board are women, which is very unique when we look at university boards in Canada,” she said. “And we have other diverse voices within that.”Thomas, an African-Nova Scotian from East Preston, said she could not recall details from the June meeting, but said there was no yelling.“There was something that happened, and there was an apology made — a very sincere and honest apology,” she said. “I was a little surprised that it was still lingering, but those are her feelings.”Thomas added it’s essential for students to have a voice in the governance of the university, but that the board chairman needs to give all members a chance to speak and maintain order.Thomas said there are issues at large institutions, but that Dalhousie has made efforts to be inclusive.“We each have a voice at the board,” she said. “We’re all given an opportunity to speak at every meeting that I have been at.”Stordy, also a partner at Stewart McKelvey, said the board will continue to explore ways to make all members feel comfortable.“While we are committed to effective board governance, this commitment will not override the principles of inclusion and respect,” said Stordy.last_img read more

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Marineland sues OSPCA alleging agency wanted to destroy theme park

first_imgMarineland has filed a lawsuit against the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, alleging the organization maliciously targeted the theme park in order to curry favour with animal rights activists and boost fundraising.The lawsuit alleges the OSPCA launched a criminal investigation against Marineland last year for “improper purposes” and with the intention of harming the Niagara Falls, Ont., amusement park’s reputation.The investigation culminated with the laying of 11 animal cruelty charges against Marineland, which were then withdrawn this summer.In a statement of claim filed Tuesday, Marineland says the OSPCA laid the charges as part of a broader push to ban commercial zoos and aquariums and promote other policy goals.The allegations have not been proven in court and the OSPCA has not yet filed a statement of defence.But the organization, a private charity tasked with enforcing the province’s animal welfare laws, says it “vehemently denies all of the allegations and will defend itself.”Marineland is seeking $21 million in damages on grounds of malicious prosecution, negligent investigation, injurious falsehood, and abuse of power and process.“The OSPCA’s purpose in initiating the prosecution was not the enforcement of the law,” the statement of claim reads.“It was motivated by a series of improper objectives, including a desire to accomplish its own policy agenda, to mollify the animal activist community, to please its donors, and to effectively destroy Marineland.”The investigation was launched last November after the animal welfare agency received a complaint from an animal rights group.The Canadian Press also obtained a copy of the complaint and some of the stories it reported are cited in the lawsuit.Marineland was initially charged with five counts of animal cruelty late last year in connection with the treatment of peacocks, guinea hens and black bears. In January, the OSPCA laid six more animal cruelty charges against Marineland relating to elk, red deer and fallow deer.The charges were withdrawn in August after prosecutors found they had no chance of conviction on most counts.“The unfounded charges and public press announcements by the OSPCA had a direct and seriously negative impact on Marineland’s business and operations, causing Marineland damage,” the company alleges in the document.The lawsuit alleges that OSPCA investigators failed to make necessary inquiries of staff and veterinarians, conduct necessary medical examinations of animals noted as being of concern, or spend sufficient time with each animal.It further alleges the organization has publicly declared that it considers commercial zoos an antiquated business model that should be retired.last_img read more

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Laura Babcock had intense fear of death since childhood court hears

first_imgTORONTO – It took an Ontario prosecutor 10 minutes to read through a lifetime of pain for Laura Babcock.Jill Cameron walked the jury in the murder trial through the young woman’s mental health records, which detailed more than a dozen visits to specialists in the year leading up to her disappearance in the summer of 2012.“She feels no one loves or cares about her,” reads a note from a psychiatrist at Toronto’s St. Joseph’s Health Centre on April 29, 2012.She banged her head against the wall to relieve her “extreme anxiety,” and she lived with an overwhelming fear of death since childhood, read another.Babcock’s mother, Linda, closed her eyes and bowed her head as she sat in the packed courtroom on Wednesday. Her father, Clayton, rubbed his temples and clenched his jaw.The Crown contends Dellen Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 30 of Oakville, Ont., killed Babcock and burned her body in a large incinerator because she was the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend.They believe she was killed on July 3 or 4, 2012. Her body has not been found. Both Millard and Smich have pleaded not guilty.Millard, who is representing himself, has said he didn’t care much about his girlfriend at the time or about her feud with Babcock. Court has heard there was bad blood between the two women.Babcock’s mental health records came as an admission in court agreed upon by the prosecution and both accused.“We had a stack of documents from Ms. Babcock’s various mental health treatments at three different hospitals that she had attended as an outpatient and on one occasion as an inpatient,” Justice Michael Code told the jury.They boiled her records down to eight pages that only detail the time from August 2011 to April 2012.Babcock lived through extreme anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder, the records state. She purged herself. She cried all the time, and she obsessed over death.“Her major concern is death and what would happen after she dies,” reads a note from a nurse at William Osler Health Centre in Etobicoke, Ont., on Aug. 18, 2011.The next day, Babcock told a social worker at the same hospital she has had negative thoughts since she was five years old.“Does not want to die, but likes to see blood. Some days she believes anything is doable,” reads one note from a doctor at William Osler on Sept. 15, 2011.She would blame her parents for not understanding her. Then she’d take it back.On Jan. 20 2012, a note from her file at a Toronto mental health hospital reads: “Long-standing history of worthlessness and emptiness.”She told a nurse on March 14, 2012 that she sometimes wished to die, but on several other occasions she told hospital staff she did not contemplate suicide.Babcock told one psychiatrist she felt misunderstood. She accused her parents of not believing her most recent diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.“She would sometimes state that it’s not until she’s dead that people would realize she had an illness,” said a note from a psychiatrist on April 29, 2012.At that, Babcock’s mother breathed deeply, shaking her head.last_img read more

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Emergency debate on Parliament Hill covers the oil price differential crisis

first_imgOTTAWA (660 NEWS) – There has been an emergency debate on Parliament Hill to address the oil price differential crisis.There weren’t many MPs present from any party during this debate, but there was still some fiery rhetoric.Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs languished that this crisis has been met with silence.“A combination of empty platitudes with hostile attacks and legislation and policy that have only made things so much worse.”She bemoaned the Trudeau Government’s inability to get pipeline projects built.“Even the prime minister in Calgary last Thursday had the gall to say ‘this is very much a crisis’. It’s three years of a crisis for Alberta and the prime minister’s messages to Canadians, to the world and his policies caused it.”Calgary Centre Liberal MP Kent Hehr countered that this issue runs deeper.“If I look at the regulatory changes in 2012, which they said ‘this will allow us to move forward on energy projects’ clearly and in no uncertain terms, those changes did not work.”PEI Liberal MP Wayne Easter accused the Tories of playing politics during this crisis, laying the blame on solely the Liberal government without mentioning the Harper Government’s failures.“This crisis has been a long time coming. This government has worked hard to get pipelines in place.”Easter explained the one thing he agrees with from the Conservatives, is that something has to be done to find stability.“The only way we are going to get there is to find solutions in this place instead of rather playing this partisan political game.”Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel fired back about accountability.“This government will not admit responsibility or failure. They need to do that. They need to repeal these bills and bring back certainty energy sector.”This is all coming as Rachel Notley is in Toronto Thursday touting Alberta oil. She will be speaking to the Toronto Board of Trade and oil price differential will likely be a topic of conversation along pipelines to get oil to market.last_img read more

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Exastronaut Thirsk to help define Canadas place in Mars mission

first_imgOTTAWA — The Canadian Space Agency says it wants to hire former astronaut Robert Thirsk to help it figure out how to contribute medical expertise to a human mission to Mars.Thirsk is a medical doctor who holds the Canadian record for time spent in space, thanks to an extended mission on the International Space Station in 2009.Those are two of the qualifications the space agency considers essential for the $95,000 contract it is making public today, saying Thirsk is the only person on Earth who fits the bill.The job involves spending the next two years determining what Canadian scientists and health experts can do to help astronauts beyond low Earth orbit, and selling the public on the benefits of investing in space-health science.Long space missions degrade astronauts’ muscles and bones, expose them to radiation and can even damage their senses.Thirsk led the agency’s expert panel that recommended work on minimizing these dangers should be how Canada helps the human race explore space.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Crown criticizes parole ruling for USborn convicted killer sexual predator

first_imgHALIFAX — A top Nova Scotia prosecutor is questioning a parole board decision allowing the release and deportation of a convicted killer and sexual predator, saying it’s based on “hope over reason.”Paul Carver, chief Crown attorney for Halifax, secured a rare dangerous offender designation for William Shrubsall in 2001, after proving to a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge there was a high risk the American man would commit more violent or sexual crimes.Shrubsall was jailed in Canada 18 years ago for a series of Nova Scotia beatings which left some of the young female victims permanently disabled. He had previously been convicted in the beating death of his mother in Niagara Falls, N.Y.In granting Shrubsall’s release on Nov. 7, the parole board noted the 47-year-old — who has changed his name to Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod — had behaved well, had completed programs to reduce his violence, had been attending regular psychological counselling and had been developing a plan for his release into the community.However, it also said these factors “would not have been enough” for his release without the board members’ knowledge he would be deported to Niagara County in upstate New York to “face many more years of incarceration.”According to court records, Shrubsall faced a sentence of between two-and-one-third to seven years in jail for prior sexual abuse convictions in Niagara County, and the district attorney has told the Buffalo News she also intended to prosecute him for fleeing justice 23 years ago.However, Carver says the parole board’s six-page decision doesn’t make sense to him.He notes Correctional Service Canada is cited in the decision explicitly stating Shrubsall hasn’t reached the point where he can be safely released into the community, and that recent psychological assessments indicate his risk to commit fresh sexual crimes “remains high.”“Why do you (parole board members) believe that in the next two to seven years that something is going to happen to bring the risk to a manageable state? There is no explanation for that logic. None,” Carver said.“That’s why I don’t understand it. This is the triumph of hope over reason. You have no basis in reality to draw that conclusion as far as I can tell from that decision.”Carver said when the original application for dangerous offender status was sought in 2000, it was because “we believed this person poses such a high risk for future violence that there are going to be more crimes.”The prosecutor argues the sole reason an inmate convicted as a dangerous offender should be released is that there is solid evidence the risks have been brought under control.“If you’re just going to release them because you can send them off to the United States, that’s not a component of the dangerous offender scheme,” he said.“He will be out on the street of Niagara County, New York … at some point. And if he hurts somebody then we will have failed to do what we endeavoured to do,” said the prosecutor.Shrubsall’s criminal background is extensive.About 30 years ago, he bludgeoned his mother to death with a baseball bat in their home the night before his graduation.The parole board report says that he committed sexual assaults against two women. In May 1996, he fled to Canada while his trial was underway for assaulting a 17-year-old, but he was convicted in absentia.Once he came to Halifax, Shrubsall went on a spree of violence that devastated the lives of a number of victims.In February 1998, while robbing a retail store, he struck a female employee with a baseball bat, fracturing her skull. A few months later, in May, 1998, he attacked and sexually assaulted a female victim as she was walking home from work.In June 1998, he met a woman in a bar and took her to a residence in a taxi. He wouldn’t let her leave his apartment, choking and sexually assaulting her.In his oral judgment, the Nova Scotia judge said he didn’t see a “realistic prospect of controlling the threat of dangerousness and managing the risk” of Shrubsall as a regular offender, and said it was likely that he would continue to pose a risk to others that would “likely result in death, severe physical injury or psychological damage to a future victim.”He was also described as “lacking a conscience.”In 2002, when Shrubsall changed his name to Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod, it drew a critical reaction from the family of the British writer who created the fictional hero Simon Templar.Simon Templar was the alter ego of The Saint, a handsome, adventurous literary creation who appeared in more than 100 books, TV shows and comic strips.The family considered taking legal action to try and prevent Shrubsall from using the name, but found there was little they could do.The Niagara County District Attorney office wasn’t available on Monday, a civic holiday in the United States, but district attorney Caroline Wojtaszek has told the Buffalo News that Shrubsall will be arraigned on a pending indictment of bail jumping, and will serve his sex-abuse sentence as he awaits trial.She also told the Buffalo News site that Shrubsall could be a candidate for civil confinement as a sex offender.“He’s not somebody that I think should be out of custody, ever,” Wojtaszek told the newspaper.— Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Quebec government to maintain gun registry deadline will ease some criteria

first_imgQUEBEC — The Quebec government says its provincial long gun registry will come into force as planned next week, but it is promising added flexibility in the requirements for gun owners.Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault says the Coalition Avenir Quebec government will introduce a bill easing some of the rules in legislation adopted in 2016.With the Jan. 29 deadline for registering less than a week away, she says about 350,000 people have listed their weapons — with a notable hike this month as the deadline looms.The province has previously estimated that Quebecers own 1.6 million long guns, mostly shotguns and rifles.Guilbault says once the amendments are passed, gun owners will no longer have to notify the registry of a temporary change in the location where firearms are stored. They won’t have to provide the registration number upon request by a peace officer or provide the barrel length when registering a weapon.Guilbault says the registry will be in effect as of Jan. 30 and advises gun owners to register their weapons to avoid fines of up to $5,000.“There is a law, and the law as well as the registry are here to stay, so people have to comply,” Guilbault told reporters in Quebec City. “They have a few days left to register their guns legally, because as of Jan. 30, fines could apply.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Veteran Liberal MP Denis Paradis wont seek reelection this fall

first_imgMONTREAL — Veteran Liberal MP Denis Paradis says he won’t seek re-election in this fall’s federal election.The Quebec MP says in a message published on Facebook that it’s time to turn the page after 25 years in politics, and 15 as an MP.He was first elected in the Brome-Missisquoi riding in 1995, then was re-elected three times before losing his seat in 2006. He finished second in 2008 and 2011 before regaining his seat in the 2015 election.He served a number roles in government, including secretary of state for La Francophonie and secretary of state for Latin America and Africa between 2002 and 2003, and minister of state for Financial Institutions from 2003 to 2004.In his message, Paradis said he would continue to take an interest in the files he’s championed, especially those related to the environment.The 70-year-old said many people had asked him to run again, but he’s decided to leave the role to others.“To me, politics is a vocation. And to this vocation, I have given the best of myself,” he wrote in a post Sunday.“I think that every file is important. I do my utmost to carry all of them forward to the best of my knowledge.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Scheer to visit oilservices company in Edmonton as Singh lingers in BC

first_imgOTTAWA — Andrew Scheer takes his Conservative election campaign to an Edmonton oil-industry company today.He’s visiting FourQuest Energy, a firm that specializes in nitrogen cooling and cleaning services, where he’s promising to make a policy announcement.Alberta is very friendly ground for the Conservatives but Edmonton has a few seats the Tories don’t hold and would love to grab: two won by Liberals in the last election, and one by retiring New Democrat MP Linda Duncan.The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is to make a transit announcement aboard a ferry from Victoria to Vancouver on the fifth straight day he’s spent in British Columbia.After that, he’s sitting down for a public talk with the popular Indian-Canadian poet Rupi Kaur.Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is taking a day off from the campaign trail, and both Green Leader Elizabeth May and People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier are at local events in their home ridings in B.C. and Quebec.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2019.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Meet Rock Icons With Grammy Charity Online Auctions

first_imgThe GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions has launched an auction offering exclusive concert and meet-and-greet packages with Journey and 2014 MusiCares MAP Fund honoree Ozzy Osbourne.Now through April 25, the auction will be open for two cycles featuring a VIP concert and meet-and-greet experience to the 2014 MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert honoring Osbourne on May 12.The package includes two front-row balcony seats to the sold-out concert, soundcheck access, a light dinner, and a private meet-and-greet with the recent GRAMMY winner. The Journey meet-and-greet package will include two tickets to attend a concert of your choice on their 2014 summer tour.To place your bids, visit Presented in partnership with Kompolt, proceeds from GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions provide essential support for MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation.last_img read more

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William Shatner And Wells Fargo Will Host Breakfast Gifting Ceremony

first_imgWilliam Shatner, one of America’s most versatile stars and philanthropists, formally announced today that he and David DiCristofaro, Wells Fargo Greater Los Angeles Bank President, will host a gifting ceremony and media breakfast to distribute grants to the charities supported by the annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, Sponsored by Wells Fargo.The Hollywood Charity Horse Show is in its 25th year.The event will begin at 8:00 AM on Thursday, February 5th at The Six Restaurant, 12650 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA.Proceeds from the Hollywood Charity Horse Show, Sponsored by Wells Fargo benefit special-needs children across the City of Los Angeles through local charities including: AHEAD With Horses, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Hollenbeck Police Activities League (PAL), The Painted Turtle and others.“Over the last 25 years, we have been able to help thousands of young Angelinos thanks to the support we receive from our generous sponsors and attendees,” commented William Shatner. “We are so happy to award the funds raised at the 2014 event to these special-needs organizations.”last_img read more

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Serena Williams Helps Launch Worlds Largest Lesson

first_imgUNICEF and the Global Goals campaign have launched the World’s Largest Lesson, an initiative to teach children in more than 100 countries about the new Sustainable Development Goals that will be adopted by the UN General Assembly later this month.Serena Williams joins UNICEF and the Global Goals campaign to launch the World’s Largest LessonThe Global Goals campaign was launched last week at UN Headquarters, and aims to reach the 7 billion people on earth to make the world body’s new development targets “famous.”“The World’s Largest Lesson will do more than teach children about the global goals,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “It will engage them in the effort to achieve those goals – educating them about the challenges that are shaping their futures and encouraging them to drive change in their own communities.”“Young people can help achieve the global goals by holding their leaders accountable for the promises they are making – and by holding themselves accountable for building a better future for everyone,” he added.UNICEF announced that the initiative has already attracted support from influential leaders and public figures including Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram, tennis star Serena Williams and the Brazilian footballer Neymar. In addition, Government leaders from a number of countries will be teaching and participating in lessons.The UN estimates that a potential 500 million girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 14 will have the chance to learn about the Global Goals. These range from ending extreme poverty, to tackling climate change, and giving all children the opportunity to gain a quality education.“By making the Global Goals famous we can give them the best chance of working around the world – and help make us the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation in history to end injustice and inequality, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change,” explained Richard Curtis, filmmaker and founder of the Global Goals campaign.The World’s Largest Lesson will be held in classrooms on every continent during the week of 28 September. As part of the campaign specially created lesson materials include an animated film by Aardman and author and education expert Sir Ken Robinson that introduces the Global Goals, and a downloadable comic book by Josh Elder, Karl Kesel and Grace Allison.last_img read more

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Global Stars Unite To Combat Illiteracy On International Literacy Day

first_imgo celebrate the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, 26 of the world’s most high profile personalities from film, music, politics and the arts, have joined forces to raise awareness for literacy with one common goal in mind: by 2030, no child will be born at risk of poor literacy.Today, 32 million American adults cannot read and one in four children grow up without learning how to read. Globally, the numbers are even more staggering. One in 10 people on the planet are unable to read and write. Yet many do not realize that illiteracy is more than the inability to read a good book. Illiteracy is linked to almost every major global development challenge there is, from infant mortality and malnutrition to gender inequality and unemployment.To demonstrate how illiteracy contributes to larger socioeconomic problems, the “Alphabet of Illiteracy” was created by Project Literacy – a movement convened by founding partner, Pearson and backed by more than 75 partners, including UNESCO, Microsoft, Room to Read, GOOD Magazine, Worldreader, Doctors of the World, The Big Issue, The Hunger Project, the National Literacy Trust and War Child.The Alphabet of Illiteracy brings to life, in a powerful new way, a body of evidence and decades worth of research demonstrating that illiteracy can contribute to reduced life expectancy, radicalization, the spread of disease and violent crime.Dr. Dan Wagner, UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Penn’s International Literacy Institute, said: “There is a strong argument that tackling illiteracy and low literacy, as a ‘foundational’ social problem, would pay greater dividends than tackling each issue separately. This approach also fits directly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”In the Alphabet of Illiteracy, A is for AIDs, because if you can’t read or write, you are five times less likely to understand how people can contract HIV. B is for bloodshed because the rate of violent crimes such as homicide and sexual assaults is almost double among the illiterate population. C is for child brides, because if all women had a primary education, child marriages would reduce by a sixth. To view the full Alphabet of Illiteracy, click here.From Julianne Moore to Idris Elba, Taylor Schilling and Elton John, 26 champions of literacy across the globe are elevating this issue and serving as advocates for change through a mass social media movement. Each advocate has adopted a letter from the Alphabet of Illiteracy that corresponds to a social cause they are passionate about. Their synchronized unique messages of support on Twitter will create a powerful wave of socially-driven awareness, designed to spur people into action around literacy.“Literacy is a fundamental human right. The United Nation agrees. Without literacy there is no opportunity to transcend the economic and social constraints of past generations. We have made so much progress on so many other deeply important issues, from poverty to gender inequality, through financial and intellectual commitment. The cause of literacy for all is worth our best efforts. The ability to read and write, can, and will, change lives and pave the way for future generations to thrive. And on a personal level, reading has been the one thing that has at once opened the world to me, and made me feel less alone. We all deserve that,” said actress Julianne Moore.Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer for Pearson and spokesperson for Project Literacy, said: “Illiteracy is a global challenge and we all need to pull together if we are to combat its devastating impact. Project Literacy provides the umbrella for a global coalition of non-profit organizations, businesses, and government who together can ensure literacy helps solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.”To mark the U.S. launch of the campaign, Project Literacy has taken to the streets of New York to create a stunning piece of interactive artwork in TriBeCa that showcases messages of support reproduced into pencils. The “Mighty Pencil” exhibit physically illustrates the power of reading and writing and how it can help change the world for the better. The exhibit is open to the public to celebrate International Literacy Day today only.To get involved, visit and share a message of support, donate to one of Project Literacy’s 26 charity partners or sign a petition.last_img read more

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150 Young Artists Join AllStar Broadway Cast In Arts For Autism Benefit

first_imgEducational Travel Adventures (ETA) and Believe NYC, organizations that enrich the lives of young people through travel and performance opportunities, announce the return of Arts for Autism, hosted by Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara.The concert will take place at the iconic Gershwin Theatre on Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:30 p.m., and will benefit Autism Speaks. More than 150 young artists will join the Broadway cast on stage for an evening that will inspire feelings of understanding, acceptance, kindness and compassion.For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.Broadway lineup: • Christopher Jackson, Tony Award nominee (Hamilton) • Stephanie J. Block, Tony Award nominee (Falsettos) • Adrienne Warren, Tony Award nominee (Shuffle Along) • Jennifer Laura Thompson (Dear Evan Hansen) • Teal Wicks (Finding Neverland) • Abby Mueller (Beautiful) • John Michael Dias (Beautiful) • Betsy Struxness (Hamilton) • Kelvin Moon Loh (The King and I) • and more!This year’s show will introduce Mina Cuesta, an incredible lyric soprano on the spectrum. She was non-verbal in early childhood, but her parents’ introduction to music became her pathway to communication. “Mina’s love of theatre and singing is infectious and endearing. When she sings it’s obvious she has found the thing that makes her feel most alive,” Says Jacque Carnahan, Artistic Director and Producer. Mina and Kelli O’Hara will sing a surprise onstage duet with a message to match the inspiration of the evening.Andrew Duff, diagnosed with autism at age two and Autism Speaks’ Multimedia Producer, explains his connection with theater. He says, “It’s a place of expression. It’s practicing social cues. There’s not really a right or a wrong. In some ways, it has helped me more socially than any other therapy I’ve had.” Andrew is scheduled to speak at the show.“It’s inspiring to watch young performing arts students and Broadway actors share a message of acceptance as they are joined on stage by performers on the spectrum. It’s a chance for the young people involved to perform on Broadway, a dream for many, and a chance to support an important cause. It’s an incredible show,” says Michael Holzer, Producer and General Manager of ETA.Arts for Autism is produced by Educational Travel Adventures ( and Believe NYC ( with 100% of proceeds from ticket sales donated to Autism Speaks. Last year’s inaugural event raised close to $40,000.last_img read more

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Mes nuits feront écho by Sophie Goyette – in international competition at

first_img Facebook Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Mes nuits feront écho by Sophie Goyette is in international competition at the prestigious Film Festival Rotterdam, for its international premiere in the Bright Future programme, from January 25th to February 5th 2017. The Bright Future section is for films by original, up-and-coming directors who enrich the cinematographic landscape with an own style and vision. The film will have its theatrical release in Quebec on January 13th, and will screen in Vancouver Film Festival and Victoria Film Festival in early 2017.After having been in international competition in Sundance and Locarno with her shorts films, it is a first time selection at Rotterdam for Sophie Goyette. Written, directed and edited by the director of La ronde (2011) and Le futur proche (2012), this first fiction feature stars Éliane Préfontaine, Gerardo Trejoluna et Felipa Casanova in the lead roles, besides Marie-Ginette Guay and Monique Spaziani. The film had its world premiere at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in October 2016. Login/Register With: Advertisement Sophie Goyette is a writer and filmmaker of five awarded short films, in competition in Sundance, Locarno and TIFF Toronto festivals. Premiered at Locarno Film Festival, her fourth film (2011) was selected in the Top Ten Canada, received a GENIE AWARD 2012 nomination and won six prizes along with the « Best Short Fiction Award» aux Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois. Her short (2012) won the « National Award» for its world premiere along with five prizes in festivals, received a Canadian Screen Award 2013 nomination and was in international competition at the 2013 Sundance Festival.Produced by Sophie Goyette, is a film with french, english and spanish dialogues, with subtitles in english. The direction of photography isby Léna Mill-Reuillard, the artistic direction and editing is by Sophie Goyette, the sound design is by Simon Gervais (Studio Bande à Part) and the musical interpretation is by Éliane Préfontaine.The film is distributed by La Distributrice de films (Serge Abiaad) and its theatrical release in Quebec is on January 13th 2017.last_img read more

Read More Mes nuits feront écho by Sophie Goyette – in international competition at

Chiefs cabinet ministers MPs arrive for historic gathering

first_img(Manitoba Grand Chief David Harper meets with reporters before start of Crown-First Nations Gathering APTN/Photo)APTN National NewsOTTAWA–Chiefs, cabinet ministers, MPs and Senators arrived at Ottawa’s old city hall building Tuesday morning under light drizzle and warm temperatures for the opening of the Crown-First Nations gathering.Gov.-Gen. David Johnston, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are scheduled to deliver speeches after the 45 minute opening ceremonies which will include a grand entry, an honour song, the singing of O Canada, a smudging ceremony, an exchange of gifts and a prayer chant.Chiefs will be listening closely to what Harper says in his speech after a meeting Monday night with a small delegation left First Nations leaders underwhelmed and wondering if the prime minister is really interested in working with them to find lasting peace with the country’s Indigenous population.“The hope is that the national chief and the prime minister are able to advance a constructive agenda,” said Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day. “If the meeting with the prime minister yesterday is any indication of the speed and resolve by which he will advance First Nation issues, we will be disappointed and plans will commence to respond.”Day said Ontario chiefs planned to turn over their historic two-row wampum belt during the morning ceremony to signify the relationship between Canada and First Nations needed mending.Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief David Harper said Manitoba chiefs are hoping Harper responds to their call for a first ministers meeting to follow Tuesday’s gathering.“We are going to wait until after the meeting and come back together and look at ways of how we are going to move forward,” said Harper. “We have always brought solutions to the table, we know what is best for our communities and our people. That is going to be the main key, that they hear us.”Gitanmaax Chief Marjory McRea said her thoughts were with her community members as she prepared for the day’s events.“I am here asking for an opportunity to create change for my people back home,” said McRea.Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, whose files include some potential flash-points in regards to resource development and First Nations, said on arriving that he was hoping to have a broad discussions about the importance resource development can have on First Nations communities.“We are very hopeful that the benefits of the development of natural resources will be a boom for Aboriginal communities economically and socially,” said Oliver. “It is a moral and constitutional responsibility for the government of Canada to enter into consultations with Aboriginal people.”Environment Minister Peter Kent said he was also looking to discuss the pressing issues of the day involving his portfolio with First Nations.Kent said he was hoping talks with First Nations leaders would help strengthen partnerships.“That is why we are here is to try to move the story forward. Dialogue is very important and consultation is a prime consideration in all First Nations matters,” said Kent.Cabinet ministers, including Kent and Oliver, are expected to participate in private sections with chiefs following the opening speeches and ceremonies.The sessions will include discussions on improving the relationship between Canada and First Nations, economic development and education.According to the day’s agenda distributed to the press, no speakers have yet been chosen for the closing speeches.last_img read more

Read More Chiefs cabinet ministers MPs arrive for historic gathering

First Nation Conservative MP says opposition trying to stifle his views

first_imgAPTN National NewsParliament Hill has been buzzing with talk about replacing the Indian Act.The one politician leading the push is Conservative MP Rob Clarke.Months ago, Clarke introduced a privet members bill to amend and eventually replace the Indian Act. His proposed bill was debated last Thursday.Clarke explains his bill in an interview with APTN National News.last_img

Read More First Nation Conservative MP says opposition trying to stifle his views

Woman takes government to court to help homeless vote

first_imgAPTN National NewsA former homeless woman says federal election rules discriminate against the poor and she wants them changed.In 2008, Rose Henry was turned away from the ballot box because she didn’t have proper identification.Since then she’s taken the federal government to court.The case is now before the British Columbia court of appeal.APTN National News reporter Rob Smith has the story.last_img

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