March 18, 2022 – Earlier this month, York Region District School Board hosted its first conference for Muslim students.
The three-day virtual conference, Pillars to Well-Being, took place March 2-4 and focused on mental health and well-being, along with affirming Muslim identity. Students had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Mohamad Fakih, Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Uzma Jalaluddin. Students chose from a variety of workshops that covered topics related to various aspects of well-being, from nutrition, arts, breath, physical activity, and mental health to human rights and challenging Islamophobia.
"The Pillars Conference was amazing, a great opportunity to learn, play and grow with other Muslim staff and students. Can't wait to attend and see what the next conference will be like!" said Rida Ali, a student at Alexander Mackenzie H.S.
“I was very fortunate to be able to attend this conference, it really showed me that the school board is willing to provide these important opportunities to the Muslim student community,” said Riyad Rahim, a student at Sutton District H.S.
“It was a monumental event that let our Muslim students know that they are valued, heard and important,” said Wahid Khan, South Asian Teacher Liaison with YRDSB and one of the conference organizers.
The conference was organized by the Alliance of Educators for Muslim Students (AEMS), with the support of York Region District School Board’s Inclusive School and Community Services.
“We are so grateful to our AEMS team members who brought this together, our community partners, who joined us, and ISCS and colleagues, who supported us. We are also very touched by the responses from students, families, and both Muslim and non-Muslim staff about the impact that this event has had on them,” said Rizwana Kaderdina, Equity Teacher Facilitator with YRDSB and another of the conference organizers.