The Other People was formed through the coming together of community leaders and anti-racism organizations across the racial, religious, and cultural mosaic. The mission of The Other People is to empower IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) and Faith Leaders to work together in addressing systemic and individual racism and discrimination across British Columbia.
Our second event just took place with the students and faculty of L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey (Facilitated by Ms. Annie Ohana – winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching). Over 200 students and faculty participated online.
Annie Ohana is Indigenous Department Head and an Anti Oppression Educator at LA Matheson Secondary in Surrey. She has a masters in Equity Studies and is a curriculum specialist and community organizer across a variety of organizations. She has won multiple awards at every level for her work through her organization MustangJustice, a social justice based Youth Leadership Team. She teaches through collective knowledge and decolonized ways of knowing to think critically and take action for liberation, transformation and intersectional empowerment based on strengthening the beautiful multiplicity of identities within all of us.
“My name is Annie Ohana, and I am the Indigenous Department Head and founder of MustangJustice at LA Matheson Secondary in Surrey. We were blessed to be the first public school to host the Others on Feb 24th as part of our Black History Month and Love is Louder Celebrations. I invited several other schools and we ended up having over 150 students in Surrey, Nanaimo, and Howe Sound join in on the incredible session. We also had administrators and teachers from other parts of Surrey as well. Since the session several educators from Vancouver Island, Burnaby, and Vancouver have reached out to bring the panel to their schools.
As a school with a very high majority BIPOC population the message of intersectional and interfaith action against racism and violence mixed with real life experiences that challenged students to consider their role as bystanders, accomplices, and change-makers.
The panelists were incredibly thoughtful, filled with humility as they took on tough questions, and brough real world experiences that truly brought the message home of the dehumanization, discrimination, and ostracization faced by all types of folks in Canada.
I would compare the panel to a type of Avengers super group, incredible community leaders coming together to reclaim “Otherness” away from White Supremacist settler colonial discrimination and to showcase and role model how working together brings safe and positive spaces. It is also a panel filled with celebration and pride and to be perfectly fitting for our motto of Mentorship Through Identity. Proud in who they are, proud in what they have overcome, and showing incredible skills of critical thinking, students learned so much through the sharing by each person.
We should not fear dialogue around the systems that condition us to “other” humans around us. With The Others showing the way, we can shine a light on how to decolonize our minds, on collaborating for justice, and learning humbly all along the way.
We are already planning future sessions from this one panel alone, and are supremely excited to continue the journey we started on Feb 22nd.
The interactive program helped students develop cultural competence in engaging with the challenging issue of hate and racism in Canada. We helped to break down the silos of community engagement by facilitating meaningful engagement with leading members of the Indigenous, Black, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, and Asian/Buddhist communities. Students were able to ask tough and open questions as they learned more about personal and media bias and how to critically think of the representation of others.
Part of the intention behind this project is to address individual biases by creating meaningful interactions between students and “Other People”. Research from the Institute for Policy Understanding has shown that those who know a person from an identifiable group are twice as likely to hold favorable views towards that group. We are working together to help break down the silos that prevent us from getting to know the different communities in Canada that form our cultural mosaic.”
We had a school from Howe Sound, Nanaimo and our school have approximately 150 students. We also had 5 teachers from LA Matheson and 5 administrators, several from other Surrey schools join us.
Intersectional Empowerment For All
Unceded Coast Salish Territories of Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, and QayQayt peoples
ANNIE OHANA (she/her Pronouns) M.Ed in Equity Studies
LA MATHESON SECONDARY
Indigenous Department Head
MustangJustice Program Founder/Director
Social Justice, IndigenousTeacher Advocate, Law, Social Sciences, Anti-Oppression/Justice & Equity Curriculum Specialist/Community Organizer
Teacher Sponsor: MustangPrideGSA, Justice Leadership
Community: SFU Mentor in Teaching For SJ Grad Program, Next 100 Years Mentorship Through Identity, Shakti Team, Safe Schoosl Coalition,MarchOn, IndusMedia, NEVR, OneVoiceCanada, Global Peace Alliance, Solid State Co-Op Advisory Board, Lumbala Leadership Advisory Board, SHER Vancouver Advisor
Local Representative to BCTF? WR Long Intennational Solidarity Committee/ STA Rep/ SJ Rep/ BCTF Workshop Developer/Facilitator/
STA Cmtes: indigenous Education, Status of Women, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, International Solidarity, Convention, PAPR