White Ribbon assemblies bring girls and boys together to help end gender-based violence

Prefects from St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School braved Monday’s snowy weather to join the St. Andrew’s White Ribbon service in Ketchum Auditorium. 
 
This is the 17th year St. Andrew’s has participated in the White Ribbon campaign, a worldwide movement that aims to help end gender-based violence. Its mandate encourages men and boys to lead by example, challenging racism, homophobia, transphobia, and sexism.  
 
The service was led by Dave Stewart, Coordinator of Student Engagement and Wellness, who reinforced the importance of Monday’s gathering to the students. “As young men poised to become some influential leaders for tomorrow, there is perhaps nothing more important than your understanding and appreciation for the White Ribbon Campaign.” 
 
Members of the Social Justice Committee offered individualized vows to address violence against women. Faculty, staff, and students then made personal pledges before lighting 14 candles in memory of each woman who lost her life in the 1989 mass shooting at École Polytechnique in Montreal. The White Ribbon Campaign was formed in 1991 in response to the shooting as a way to raise awareness of the prevalence of male violence against women.
 
“I pledge to be observant,” said Taylor Johnston, Upper School English teacher. 
 
“For my daughters, I pledge to be a role model,” said Sean Ludwig, Upper School McEwen Business program teacher
 
“You have a voice and with it, you can actually make an impact in a woman’s life,” said Claudia Rose-Donahoe, Middle School teacher. 
 
After Prefects from both schools took turns making pledges and lighting candles, everyone sat in a moment of silence to reflect on the ceremony. 
 
All week, a pledge book and basket of white ribbons will be available in Staunton Gallery and all students, as well as faculty and staff members, have the opportunity to sign the book and commit to a simple pledge: I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women. 
 
On Tuesday, SAC’s Prefects travelled to St. Mildred’s in Oakville to participate in their White Ribbon ceremony. The bond between SAC and St. Mildred’s students serves as a positive example for both school communities and includes a different voice to these shared ceremonies. 
 
Story by Sean Maillet
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