Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School’s Amnesty Club took part in the White Ribbon Campaign last week. Back row from left: Amy Jordaan, Liam Guimond, Max Kalmokoff, Becca Vanderhorst. Front row from left: Ava Pettman, Emma Donnelly and Sarah Carter. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School’s Amnesty Club took part in the White Ribbon Campaign last week. Back row from left: Amy Jordaan, Liam Guimond, Max Kalmokoff, Becca Vanderhorst. Front row from left: Ava Pettman, Emma Donnelly and Sarah Carter. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

PSO launches White Ribbon campaign

Effort was expanded to prevent all gender-based violence

Peter Skene Ogden Secondary students took a stand against gender-based violence last week by launching a White Ribbon campaign

The effort, led by Amnesty Club members Sarah Carter and Amy Jordaan, saw club members go from class to class in late November to conduct presentations on the White Ribbon Campaign.

Originally started following the massacre of 14 female engineering students at Montreal’s École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989, the campaign has since expanded to prevent all gender-based violence, racism and discrimination. Jordaan noted “quite a few” of their schoolmates were seen wearing white ribbons the week following their presentations, which she found encouraging.

“It’s a progressive thing. We just have to keep working towards it as a group and each time we go class to class we’re spreading awareness,” she said.

Noelle Lamoureux, the club’s teacher sponsor, said she was impressed by how much of a leadership role Jordaan and Carter have taken in the group in their Grade 12 year. The White Ribbon Campaign was their idea and initiative, Lamoureux said.

Part of Amnesty International, the core of the Amnesty Club is to raise funds as well as awareness about human rights violations in both the community and around the world. The school’s club membership currently ranges from between 13 to 15 students.

“That’s kind of how it goes with the club. It’s totally student-generated ideas of what they want to do,” Lamoureux said. “It’s always super gratifying and really fulfilling (to see). It’s great to see that optimism and hope, especially these days.”

Carter said gender-based violence is still an issue to this day and that won’t change unless young people speak out against it.

The students’ campaign as held just ahead of the 32nd anniversary of the Montreal massacre. On Monday, people across Canada gathered to pay tribute to the 14 women who were shot and killed by a lone gunman who declared he was “fighting against feminism.” The anniversary of the massacre later became the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

PSO Amnesty’s Club has tackled a range of issues over the years. Carter and Jordaan have both been members of the club since Grade 9 and said they want to do their part to make a difference in the community and the wider world.

“It’s nice to see how much the club has grown. When I joined in Grade 9 we had six members but we have lots this year so we’re able to do a lot more,” Jordaan said.

The club’s upcoming activities include their Gifts of Hope and Write for Rights campaigns. For Gifts for Hope, Carter said the school will choose a specific cause and then individual classes will compete to see who can raise the most money to donate.

Jordaan said Writes for Rights is done through Amnesty International. Students are invited during lunch break to write letters and call for change from groups that violate human rights.

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