CROSSING CROSSROADS

By Christopher Torrenueva

Diversity Ambassador

Due to unavoidable circumstances, the Diversity Ambassador position will not be implemented. However, this does NOT mean that I will give up in my journey to open people’s hearts and minds and in my pursuit to give a voice to those who otherwise may not be heard. If anything, this experience has made me the strong-willed individual I am today and I would like to thank everyone who instilled a sense of courage within me. My prayers go out to anyone who may feel vulnerable, targeted, or alienated. Always remember to stay true to yourself and to become more of who YOU truly are; your most authentic self. The greatest gift of God is the freedom to be who YOU were meant to be.

Description from YouTube:
Christopher Torrenueva, a grade 12 student from All Saints Catholic Secondary School, introduces the new Diversity Ambassador position in this public service announcement (PSA) for his fellow schoolmates.

Hi, I’m Christopher Torrenueva and I’m a grade twelve student at All Saints Catholic Secondary School.

It’s human nature when we make judgments and assumptions based on what we see and hear on television, movies, or the Internet. Unfortunately, this can lead to stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination.

Being in one of the most diverse countries in the world, we as Canadians can see a mosaic of cultures around us. Look around, and see for yourself the growing diversity in our own school community.

As we go through school, the workplace, and life, we may find ourselves putting other people down because of their age, sex or sexual orientation, national identity, racial or ethnic background, mental or physical capabilities, socioeconomic class, religion, and the list goes on.

Several education institutions in Ontario, such as the University of Toronto and Donald A. Wilson Secondary School just across the street, have decided to address the issue of discrimination and incorporate a position of equality into their student governments.

This is what inspired me to come up with the idea of proposing a new position to Student Council this year, called a Diversity Ambassador. Starting on this school year’s Student Council elections, the Diversity Ambassador position will be open to students who are passionate about social justice.

The truth is, we are truly defined not by what we are but by who we are.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

I am grateful to have been given the privilege to plant a seed of freedom and liberation for future leaders to grow and blossom from. A door has been opened for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, and I have great faith that you, the Titans, will continue to pass on the torch of hope and change.

Though we have come a long way, the journey towards peace and integrity is far from over, and it is my continued prayer that I would be able to speak from a voice of wisdom, a voice of understanding, a voice of tolerance, and from a voice that reminds us all that there is more that unites us than separates us.

Thank you, and May God bless us all.

All Saints Student Council Diversity Ambassador Constitution

Diversity Ambassador Mission and Vision
A Diversity Ambassador is a model student with a tolerant spirit and progressive attitude. A student who claims the position must be a shining example of how to embrace our differences and recognize the commonality among all individuals. Essentially, this platform is for leaders who aspire to become a beacon of light for a world of integrity. I hope my decision to introduce a Diversity Ambassador to the traditional structure of Student Council will instill a sense of courage in those who witness the divine spark in every human being. The truth is, we are truly defined not by what we are but by who we are.
– Christopher Torrenueva (Creator)

Duties of the Diversity Ambassador
A. Act as a spokesperson for diversity, justice, and equality within the All Saints community.
B. Serve as the liaison between Student Council and the various organizations within the school that promote social awareness (e.g. Chaplaincy, Famine, Water Walk, Development and Peace, Harmony, Colours In Unison, Black History Month, ETP, ARC, Stomping Out Stigma, Multicultural Night, etc.).
C. Attend all Student Council meetings and update executive members on diversity initiatives (e.g. fundraisers, assemblies, conferences, etc.).
D. Suggest how charitable initiatives could be incorporated into Student Council events.
E. Be responsible for the administration and maintenance of the Student Council office.
F. Maintain a grade average that meets the Provincial Standards (70% and above).
G. Upon completion of his/her term in office, the former Diversity Ambassador must make available any information to the new Diversity Ambassador that he/she requires.
H. Like all the other executive members, the Diversity Ambassador is not restricted to only one set of responsibilities. Student Council is a collective effort that benefits from the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of the entire student body.

Diversity Ambassador Presentation

Hi, I’m Christopher Torrenueva and I’m going to talk with all of you today about the new Diversity Ambassador position, which will be put into effect on this school year’s Student Council elections. When we hear the word ‘diversity,’ we usually think of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and colour. We often forget to include diversity in terms of gender, sexual orientation, and mental and physical capabilities. While the Diversity Ambassador celebrates the achievements and successes of various social movements for civil rights, the objective of the position is to help all people evolve in consciousness by shedding light on the best in people so that they could in return shed light on the best in others.

I want to make it clear that I am not proposing this position just to make a free pass to Student Council for myself. Rather, I am working to build a platform for a cause that is greater than myself, which would help to enforce the message of unity and equity to its fullest potential. Bullying, self-hatred, and teen suicide are just some of the many issues affecting young people that could be addressed to improve grades, boost self-esteem, and better and even save lives. After motor vehicle accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults in Canada. Teen suicide rates have tripled in the past half-century and for every committed suicide, there are an estimated 30 to 50 attempts. Among adolescents in schools across Western society, racial minorities, gays and lesbians, and the mentally ill are at the highest risk of committing suicide. For some of these teens, the feelings of self-doubt and seclusion on top of the pressure to succeed lead to suicide as a permanent solution to the pain and suffering associated with having a social stigma. The Diversity Ambassador would help to ensure that help is always available, especially through supportive family members and friends, trustful teachers and counsellors, and not-for-profit youth organizations such as Kid’s Help Phone and the Harmony Movement. But before I go into more detail about this academic endeavour, I would just like to give a brief background on myself.

Ever since I could remember, I have always tended to gravitate towards people who were ostracized, marginalized, or oppressed from the rest of society. While these people are marked with labels like the “untouchables,” the “underdogs,” and even the “losers,” I believe that the light and love of the human spirit shine so much brighter in people who break barriers to open hearts and minds. I have come to realize that this tendency stems from my compassionate nature, as well as being able to relate to people who were victimized by those who allowed ignorance and intolerance to take control of their consciousness. Thus, I get most of my energy from people who are vulnerable, but still have the will to survive. However, this does not mean that I belittle the significance of people who may be more advantaged or privileged. There is a spark to be shared and a lesson to be learned from every individual, no matter what his or her social standing may be.

My heart is filled with inspiration, motivation, and enlightenment when I learn about ordinary folks and public figures who were able to overcome adversity to become a beacon of light for the lives of those around them. My vision for the Diversity Ambassador position is that it will unfold to be not just a position, but a platform to speak to people from a voice of peace, integrity, and hope. I am dedicating this position to anyone who has ever felt invisible, inadequate, or inferior. Every person is special in his or her own way and the time has come for freedom and liberation to encircle the world for generations to come. Essentially, the goal of the Diversity Ambassador is to instill awareness, initiate action, and implement change.

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December 22, 2010 Posted by | School, Social Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

Throughout history, RACISM, INTOLERANCE AND PREJUDICE have jeopardized the equality and inclusion of diversity among communities in the world, the nations, and in neighbourhoods. Fortunately, virtuous individuals ROSE IN PRESENCE to give back the equal rights of human beings. Sadly, many of these inspirational figures RESTED IN PEACE before their dreams were finally established. Nevertheless, their absolute willpower for justice lives on and it is our responsibility to pick up where they left off, as we are still in the presence of the journey of evolutionary growth.

Image Source: http://hateonme.com/page/2

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Social Issues | , , | Leave a comment

   

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