Oakville students lead campaign to wear blue on Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Published January 19, 2023 at 3:14 pm

Grade 7 students at St. Dominic Catholic Elementary School in Oakville are calling on all Canadians to join them in wearing blue to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, Jan. 27. ST. DOMINIC CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PHOTO

When students at St. Dominic Catholic Elementary School in Oakville met Holocaust Survivor Andy Reti last year and listened to his story, they were deeply affected.

So much so, that the students from John McPhail’s Grade 7 class pledged to do all they can to ensure a similar genocide from happening again and launched their “Never Again” campaign.

The elementary students are calling on all Canadians to join them in wearing blue to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, Jan. 27

“We don’t want to see or hear of hatred, discrimination, or any words and actions that could lead to a new Holocaust,” wrote the class in a letter to 100 Canadians in leadership positions who can positively influence others with their voice and actions.

After meeting Reti, McPhail and his class reached out to the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a non-profit human rights organization that works to countering antisemitism and racism.

The presented the idea for the “Never Again” campaign at the human rights organization’s Freedom Day event held back on Sept. 20, 2022.

Blue was Reit’s favourite colour and represented freedom and hope.

The students are asking the leader of these organizations to help them through various ways, including:

Make a pledge of “Never Again”

Take a selfie with the “Never Again” sign and tag us on Twitter (@oakvillegr7s). The Twitter account was made just for the project

Include the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre @CanadianFSWC on your Twitter.

Display their enclosed sign in their office. This will help them remember that they have the ability to make “Never Again” a reality with what they say and do. Share it with their work colleagues and workplaces. Everyone who interacts will see it.

Write back to the students and they will add the letter to their Grade 7 scrapbook.

“Leaders such as yourself, and others whom you work with, must act on the belief that what we say and do can bring people together or tear us apart,” continued the students’ letter. “Our leaders must do and say things that bring people closer together.

“The decisions you and your colleagues make are important.”

The letter is signed by all the students in McPhail’s Grade 7 class.

Several organizations have already ready responded to the pledge, including Federation CJA, the central philanthropic, planning and coordinating body of services for Montreal’s Jewish community.

“We’re honoured to receive a letter from @oakvillegr7s who asked 100 #Canadians to participate in the #Never Again campaign for #IHRD,” said the federation in a tweet on Wednesday (Jan. 18).

“Thank you for joining in the our fight against antisemitism.”

A plaque honouring Reiti will be dedicated at St. Dominic Catholic School on Monday (Jan. 23).

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