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Sandwich Secondary students Carson Clarke Bartolo and Amena ShamisaSandwich Secondary students Carson Clarke Bartolo and Amena Shamisa were among 250 participants in the High School Social Justice Forum, Friday on the UWindsor campus.

Social justice issues topic of high school forum

It’s good to see things from different perspectives, says Carson Clarke Bartolo.

A member of the student parliament, gay-straight alliance and peer helper group at Sandwich Secondary School, she joined hundreds of her peers from schools across Windsor-Essex at the 11th annual High School Social Justice Forum, Friday on the UWindsor campus.

“I liked the message we heard this morning about how to use the power of your voice,” Clarke Bartolo said during a mid-day break in workshops. “They reminded us to help someone else to speak rather than to speak for them.”

The topic of empowerment was front and centre in discussion of issues ranging from electoral reform to refugee youth to racialized populations, said Amy Tesolin, co-chair of Teachers for Global Awareness, which organized the day’s events.

“We wanted a theme this year that is going to cover a wide variety of topics,” she said. “The idea of empowerment is that is about more than just informing, but moving students to action.”

Amena Shamisa, like Clarke Bartolo a senior at Sandwich, said she found the forum inspiring.

“We are talking about not just what’s happening around the world, but what we can do about it,” said Shamisa. “They are giving us the tools we need to make a difference.”

About 250 students attended this year’s forum, the first time schools from all four local boards have participated, Tesolin said.