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Hundreds of high school activists gather in Toronto for the first Student Social Forum

Organizers hope it will become an annual event

by PSF Communications Committee

Today, 200 student activists from within the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) connected with community, union, and artist activists to share their passions and experiences in a forum designed to deepen their commitment to social justice work. Hosted by OSSTF Human Rights Committee, "Action reAction: A Youth Social Forum", is the first of what organizers hope will be an annual event for the TDSB. 
"There are so many educators and students who are actively promoting human rights and social justice," explained Bruce Lyne, a Toronto teacher and organizer of the youth social forum. "We wanted to create an opportunity for them to come together with one another and community activists. This conference is about building a stronger activist community in our schools."
The event also featured the Camille Natale Awards, annual awards given to students to recognize their outstanding human rights/social justice work. The keynote speaker of the forum a former student at the Student School, Andre Lopez, was also a winner of the Camille Natale Award last year.
"As the future leaders of the world we have a choice," said Andre Lopez, explaining why he thought youth needed to be politically engaged. "We can either continue living in a world of oppression that was forced upon us by past generations, or we can break the cycle of repression and create a better world. This is our world, our government, we need to take control of it and start making changes for the better."
The student social forum is a also a lead-up event to the Peoples' Social Forum, a massive convergence that is set to take place in Ottawa this August. This gathering will see hundreds of participant-led workshops at the University of Ottawa, in an attempt to weave together movements against the impoverishment of the austerity agenda and for social justice in Canada.
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