Toronto - Ontario Human Rights Commission Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall today launched the Living Rights Project, a web-based living library that puts real people into the human rights discussion. The project was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and to be an ongoing resource for all Ontarians. Hall made the announcement at Parkdale Collegiate Institute, which will serve as a program partner.
The OHRC is inviting all Ontario residents to submit short videos, essays, letters, poems, songs, or any other artistic work that tells a human rights story. Submissions can talk about what “Human rights in Ontario” means, or relate a personal story related to the grounds of the Code, such as age, colour, disability, sexual orientation, etc. Stories can be positive or negative – the project’s goal is to teach people about experiences over the past 50 years, as well as to look forward as the next generations learn about and advance human rights.
“This project helps us learn from the past and aspire to the future,” says Hall. “Over 50 years, we have come a long way. But we also need to look at the discrimination and the barriers that still exist today, and to inspire the next generation to continue the journey. That’s the only way to make rights that look so good on paper actual lived rights.”
Special categories have been created for junior, middle and high school students and classes – where the next generation of human rights pioneers will get their start.
“The Living Rights Project is about learning and education, so schools are the logical places to build for the future,” says Chris Bolton, Chair of the Toronto District School Board. “We have one of the most diverse student populations in the world, and projects like this can help us both celebrate the diversity and teach that human rights begin in our homes, in our neighbourhoods, and especially in our classrooms.”
The project will be launched the week of June 15, 2012 – the 50th anniversary of the Human Rights Code. Submissions received by April 30, 2012 will have a chance to be considered for the launch.