Symphonic Band: 2nd place with 86%
Junior Band: 2nd place with 90%
Concerto Competition: 1st place - 93/100 - Platinum placement
Canadian Composers competition: 1st place - 91/100 - Gold placement
By Nikoo Aleyasin
The Holocaust assembly was perfectly timed with recent events covered all over the news. North Toronto hosted guest speaker, 87-year-old Holocaust survivor Mr. Bill Glied, who shared his experiences of living through this tragedy. Although he was taken from his home along with his mother, father, and sister, by the time he was liberated, only Glied was still alive. Decades later, he testified against SS officers not because he wanted them punished, but so a German justice system would acknowledge and record the guilty verdict. This way, no one could deny the inhumanity that took place. Glied said that the horrifying events took place because people stood by and let it happen.
Violent acts triggered by prejudice and xenophobia are prominent throughout the world. How can communities be protected from this threat? A key answer lies in our history books. Drawing examples from the sieges of Sarajevo and Mostar, the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and countless other incidents of intolerance to diversity, it is clear that the killing was able to continue for so long because other nations stood idly by as innocent people were being murdered.
After the US election in November, there was a spike in reported hate crimes targeted at minorities. Because of the election results, some people have become more willing to spew racist comments into the internet and openly display their hatred of others in violent and destructive ways. However, these happenings are not only occurring in the US; they have spread up north to our neck of the woods. It is crucial to acknowledge the omnipresent fact that borders do not make Canada immune to such damaging mindsets and rhetoric.
We can no longer ignore the horrors that unfold around us and must, as human beings with a civic duty, address the issue. With this knowledge of the past, it is clear there is something that we all can—that we all must—do. It is important for us as people of a diverse society to acknowledge blatant and subtle intolerance and to stand up for those without a voice. Communities are built on trust and a desire for the wellbeing and quality of life for all individuals who are a part of it.
Toronto is a city that prides itself on multiculturalism. This beautiful tapestry of culture cannot exist if the people creating it are stepped on with racism, sexism, and other destructive manifestations of fear. People who perpetrate such acts are bullies. The only way to stop a bully is by helping the victim and making it known that this person’s actions are not okay and will not be endured or tolerated. Sign petitions, go to rallies, or call someone out for their racist comment. It is vital to aid those who need help. After all, you never know when you will need them to rescue you.