Date: Saturday, March 2, 2019
North Surrey Secondary School
As a way of making our conference more inclusive and accessible for people with children and for people traveling, we are starting later in the day. In keeping with our theme of teaching for Justice and with Joy, we started with a KEYNOTE and ended with a PLAYNOTE!
2019 was our second Cross Border Conference!
The Keynote speaker was Mercedes Martinez, president of the Puerto Rico Teachers' Federation, and our Playnote was the amazing band, Queer as Funk!
Our students in both the US and Canada are being inundated with stories of death and disaster when they scroll through the oceans of information instantly available on their smartphones. Research shows that having constant access to this unending tide of bleak news is having an impact on our students’ mental health. There has been a significant rise in youth depression and despair.
As waves of hate have been regularly crashing against our marginalized communities, the response to these injustices has been fascinating. We've seen a exponential increase in support for organizations working for social justice, and also a surge in popularity in speaking truth to power through humour. There's also been a huge response in all areas of the arts in defense of human rights and dignity, and to work toward a better world.
Teachers too have a role to play in this work. Apart from teaching students how to be media literate, what else can teachers do in response to this disturbing trend? How can we help students to see the “joy in the morning” that will come when we have won justice for all? How do we teach for justice and for joy?
We invited teachers, activists and artists from British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington to imagine our classrooms as spaces where joy is the syncopation that sustains the work for justice.
Teachers from British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington came together to connect across borders in this second cross border social justice conference.