Summary of organization/program
The Ontario Youth Rainbow Coalition was founded by 102 high school students and their accompanying school staff advisors from 8 school boards and 21 schools across Ontario with one sole purpose – to campaign for the elimination of prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity throughout all high schools in Ontario.
- Provincial (Ontario)
- High school students within Ontario
- Established: 2010
- Umbrella Organization: Centre Wellington High School Gay-Straight Alliance? (Check)
The Ontario Youth Rainbow Coalition (OYRC) is the first youth-led, youth-conceived, and youth-directed organization in Canada with the sole goal of eliminating homophobia and transphobia in Ontario high schools. The organization was founded on May 21st, 2010 in Fergus, Ontario by the Centre Wellington District High School Gay-Straight Alliance. 102 high school students and their accompanying school staff advisors from 8 school boards and 21 schools attended the Ontario Youth Rainbow Summit to mark the establishment of the new coalition. The OYRC was founded in the presence of nationally renowned comedian Vong Sundara, two superintendants of education of the Upper Grand District School Board, a delegate from the LGBT Youth Line, and an abundance of passionate and dedicated youth activists and high school teachers.
The summit allowed the attendees to participate in workshops designed specifically to empower and enhance their Gay-Straight Alliances. As well, the youth had the opportunity to network with one another and plan high-impact events in small groups with the intent of countering homophobic attitudes in schools across Ontario. The enthusiasm of the group was anchored by nationally-renowned comedian Vong Sundara, a musical performance by Heather Ginzel of Big Love and Alastair McGillivray, and motivational speaker Tim Campbell. A short but incredibly powerful ceremony at the end of the summit marked the foundation of the Ontario Youth Rainbow Coalition, and each participant was invited to sign the OYRC Charter and become a founding member.
Although ambitious, the mission of the OYRC was created to be feasible and implementable. It was obvious at the summit that there is no shortage of passion and motivation on the part of the members to transform the ideal of a prejudice-free education system into a concrete reality in Ontario. Through strong leadership and fearless persistence, the OYRC is committed to making this dream a reality.
Dominant Media Forms
multi media presentations
The vision is that every high school student should be exposed, in some form or another, to an OYRC campaign or event and educated about the importance of creating a school environment which celebrates sexual and gender diversity.
As the OYRC grows in numbers and impact, it will also serve as a political action group which will release position statements to the media, educational authorities, school boards, schools, and other institutions on behalf of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) students and their allies across Ontario regarding various social issues affecting LGBT youth.
Statement of Principles
The Ontario Youth Rainbow Coalition will be launching 11 social action campaigns aimed at high school students across Ontario with the sole purpose of eliminating homophobia and transphobia. These creative events and campaigns, planned at the Ontario Youth Rainbow Summit, will focus around the following youth-friendly themes: visual arts, written expression, public speaking, dance, fashion, public demonstrations, media arts, photography, music, drama, and sports.
Samples of work
The OYRC sends thanks to the British Council Canada for having sponsored the Ontario Youth Rainbow Summit 2010 – the founding event of the OYRC.