A new group at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School has been recognized by the Catholic Education Foundation of Ontario (CEFO) for spearheading an anti-racism movement.
Founded in 2020, uKnighted Against Racism was launched in response to Black Lives Matter and in support of the entire BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) community.
“STM prides itself on being a diverse community, where the multitude of races, nationalities and religions are evident,” said student member Midhaa Ahmed.
Through virtual weekly meetings, guest speakers, social media accounts, a book club, and several other smaller initiatives, the student-led group is able to engage and educate with the school community on current issues.
“Our 40 student members are formed by members of the BIPOC community, as well as white allies,” said Teacher Stefanie West, who heads up the group alongside Teachers Dwayne Harvey, Yuri Varela-Melara and Vice-Principal Kevin Monaco.
“These students are educated, motivated, and are primed to change the world.”
In recognition of these efforts, the group was recently honoured with a CEFO Michael Monk Award.
The award honors a Catholic elementary or secondary school that has led the way by implementing exemplary innovative program(s) to improve the learning of their students.
Jointly funded and administered by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association and the Catholic Education Foundation of Ontario, the monetary value of the award is $4000.
The plan is to use the award to fund an anti-racism workshop or certification course at the University of Toronto for the Spring of 2022.
“Upon their return to Hamilton, the students would plan an interactive, educational assembly for the entire school. The assembly would be capped off by a guest speaker,” said West.
“The objective of this initiative is to empower our students with education, so that they may spread awareness and education within and beyond our community.”
“The workshop/certification course will give the students the tools, confidence, and inspiration to continue to make a difference. By us investing in this opportunity, and by virtue, the students, we are saying ‘we see you, we hear you, and yes, the time for change is now.’”