For the school year of 2020-2021, the students of the GSA were involved in numerous things. Even though there is a pandemic, that did not stop West Kildonan Collegiate’s GSA from having weekly meetings this year.
As part of the Seven Oaks School Division’s Anti-Racist initiatve, the GSA engaged in discussions about anti-racism. The GSA attended several meetings with Manny Callisto and Shivram Raveendrabose and talked about topics such as intersectionality and White privilege. The discussions were complex and fruitful; students came away with new pieces of knowledge.
In March, the GSA was also involved in the planning of West Kildonan Collegiate’s PD on 2SLGBTQ+ identities and topics. Dene Guillas, the School Equity and Inclusion Coordinator of the Rainbow Resource Centre, was the guest speaker of the day. He discussed the importance of visibility and safe spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ youth in schools. On the other hand, three GSA students wrote powerful testimonials that addressed areas of improvement in our school systems that would make school a better place for 2SLGBTQ+ youth.
Furthermore, during the week of May 31st – June 4th, Seven Oaks held its annual GSA Gathering, but this time in a virtual, pre-recorded form. The GSA Gathering committee, composed of Chantal Ramrajm, Garrett Rusnak, Manny Callisto, Candice Behrendt, Jay Jimenez, Katrina Derbecker, Jatinder Jaura, Liam Zarillo, David Heinrichs, spend lots of time and effort in putting this Gathering together.
The GSA Gathering covered lots of different topics: gender as a social construct, the importance of GSA activism, 2Spirit identities, the significance of 2SLGBTQ+ representation in schools and in society at large, the intersection of gender, attraction, and race, and many other topics.
The Aki Centre was involved as well. Elders and staff discussed the non-binary nature of gender within the environment, and they discussed the meaning of 2Spirit identities.
Students from the division delivered speeches, sang, and danced. The joy on their faces were evident throughout the Gathering. Moreover, several staff put together a fun “Pass the Bandana” challenge which involved the 7oaks GSA Gathering bandana being “passed around” from person to person. Also, drag performers from all over the city were captivating. They illustrated positive messages through their performances.
Overall, this has been an eventful year for GSAs all over the Seven Oaks School Division.
Click below for a video of the GSA Virtual Gathering: