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Jer's Vision: Canada's Youth Diversity Initiative is a youth-oriented registered charity devoted to promoting diversity and fighting discrimination in Canada.
Jer's Vision: Canada's Youth Diversity Initiative is Canada's First national organization to support and encourage the work of youth to address discrimination in their schools and communities. Through grass roots initiatives and partnerships with a variety of established national and community organizations, Jer's Vision provides youth with the tools and the resources to promote diversity and end discrimination of all kinds.
The Jer's Vision Scholarship was founded by Jeremy Dias, who faced animosity in high school for being both queer and a visible minority. He made it his mission to make a difference by changing attitudes through educational activism. His activism not only addressed homophobia/heterosexism, sexism, and racism, but also extended to raising environmental awareness and reducing impaired driving in the community.
Although his efforts remained, for the most part, unchallenged, his high school, Sir James Dunn Collegiate and Vocational School in Sault Ste. Marie, began to oppose his advocacy for sexual diversity. After four years of trying to make a difference in this area he decided to take a more drastic approach. He began by proposing a campaign that would create an environment that welcomed sexual diversity, and advocated tolerance in high school. Called Positive Space, this program was rejected by the administration, which stated that "The [Algoma District School] Board does not permit the posting of material advocating any specific lifestyle in classrooms or hallway[s]."
Jeremy believed the Algoma District School Board's response was discriminatory, and he did not stand alone. Within two days of the Board's decision, over 120 students, staff, and faculty (15 per cent of Sir James Dunn Collegiate and Vocational School (Note that a large majority of those asked did not sign)) expressed, through a petition, that they believed that Positive Space should be implemented immediately in the school, and that it would be an effective way to create a safe place for all youth, staff, and faculty.
After following traditional appeal methods and not moving forward, Jeremy began a human rights complaint against his school and school board on the grounds of discrimination. After three years of strenuous negotiations, Sir James Dunn Collegiate and Vocational School and the Algoma District School Board offered a financial settlement, but refused to apologize or make changes in the district or the school. Jeremy used the settlement to create Jer's Vision, Canada's first LGBTQ scholarship.
Now, Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative is a full National Charity currently developing a variety of programs and services to assist youth address discrimination in their schools and communities.
Programs & AwardsEdit
Jer's Vision ScholarshipEdit
The Jeremy Dias Scholarship is Canada’s First Diversity Scholarship for youth. The scholarship seeks to reward a youth that has taken initiative in addressing discrimination in their school or community.
The Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative Awards (CYDI Award) are the first awards to recognize the work of dedicated Canadian politicians who work to address discrimination and promote diversity in Canada.
Youth Role Model of the YearEdit
The Youth Role Model of the Year is the first awards to recognize the work of dedicated persons who worked to address discrimination and promote diversity in Canada and abroad.