August 1, 2012: Equitas joins forces with Montreal North kids to fight discrimination, bullying

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Play it Fair! summer camps to make respect the next cool thing Some 500 kids taking part in Montreal North day camps will be learning to combat violence and intimidation while celebrating diversity during a full day of Play it Fair! activities on Wednesday, August 1. “We are enlisting the kids to become human rights superheroes on a quest for respect and inclusion,” says Ian Hamilton, Executive Director of Equitas, a Montreal-based international human rights education centre. “In Montreal North, visible minorities make up a third of the population and children can lead the way to make the neighbourhood a better place to be.” Play it Fair! is an Equitas program for 6-12 year-olds that combats discrimination and helps build healthy, inclusive, multicultural communities across the country. It equips day camps, after-school staff, community-based organizations, and municipalities with practical tools to help children understand and adopt human rights values. The Play it Fair! toolkit features interactive and fun activities from around the world to get children thinking about different cultures, fairness, inequality and how to solve conflicts peacefully. “Educating and encouraging children to celebrate diversity and treat one another’s differences with respect is a key step in developing stronger, more vibrant communities,” says Amélie Picher, Manager, Community Relations, TD Bank Group, one of the program’s principal funding partners. Play it Fair! is reaching more than 80,000 children across Canada this year, including 15,000 in Montreal. Montreal North was among the camps that piloted the project, in 2004, with the generous and ongoing support of City of Montreal and ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec.

“One in 10 children in the province endures bullying in school. It’s disheartening,” says Élise Voyer, Equitas Program Officer for Quebec. “We hear from parents and camp counsellors that Play it Fair! is helping children counter discriminatory attitudes and ask for respect and inclusion for themselves and their peers. We believe this new generation can be the positive change we want to see.”

Other Play it Fair! days were organized in Rivière-des-Prairies, St-Laurent and Ville-Marie in August, as well as in communities across Canada.  More information on Play it Fair!

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