THUNDER BAY - A childhood educator travelling Ontario via bus says the best way to stand up to hatred is by learning about our past.
Elena Kingsbury, an education associate with Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, stopped at St. Paul Elementary School in Thunder Bay on Tuesday.
“This, in particular, is a really incredible opportunity to teach about how history can impact the present and our future,” said Kingsbury.
The educational program is centred around the story of Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who tracked down and gathered information on fugitive Nazi war criminals following the Second World War.
“We’re providing a connection between the Holocaust and other forms of injustice in history.”
The 45-minute presentation informed third-grade students on the Holocaust and other historical injustices throughout history.
It also gave examples of heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr., and Malala Yousafzai who have fought against those injustices.
“I really liked to learn about the heroes and I’d like to learn more,” said third-grade student Lexie Yurick.
One goal of the presentation, according to Kingsbury, was to use historical lessons and apply them to the daily life of the students.
“The bullying... I wouldn’t stand by and watch. I would go and help,” Yurick said when asked what she had learned.
The educator has a background in World War II history and anti-semitism. Her grandparents are Holocaust survivors.
“One big change I’ve seen is that schools are taking a more active role in talking about different human rights issues from a Canadian perspective,” she said.
“I think we’re helping them realize this does have a connection with the world we’re still living in.”