The Linden Community Stands in Solidarity with Ontario May Day Actions
Why is Linden participating in this day of action?
The Linden School was founded on feminist principles of social justice, and for the past 25 years, it has been empowering students and graduates to become leaders and changemakers who work for a better and more equitable world. On May 1st we will be modelling these values by supporting grassroots action to protest cuts in funding and services by the current provincial government which are impacting all Ontarians — including our most vulnerable citizens — in areas such as health care, education, social services, environmental protection and more.
The Linden School will remain open and a different kind of learning will take place: age appropriate care and programming will be offered to all students related to the theme and events of the day.
This is not the first time The Linden School has participated in such an action. We also joined the International Women’s Day action on March 8, 2017, to protest the U.S. government’s policies against human rights, and especially women’s rights. Click here to learn more about this action.
What will students learn?
May Day serves as an excellent teaching opportunity. Students will learn how May Day/ International Workers' Day started in North America as a struggle for the 8-hour work day in Chicago in 1886. We will celebrate the people who advocated for many of the rights we enjoy today, while recognizing that we still need to continue our struggle against injustice.
While there will be no formal subject classes, students will learn the importance of questioning those in power by discussing different points of view on this topic, as well as how to collaboratively organise civic action to benefit society. We will be offering a variety of ways for students to speak up, take action, and join the public conversation, thereby promoting the development of critical-thinking and self-agency skills that are highly valued not only at Linden but also essential to success beyond our walls.
This is an opportunity for the school to enact its mission and to provide a deeper and more experiential learning opportunity for students. Our team has been working hard, pooling their skills and resources to create developmentally-appropriate, unique and thoughtful programming related to the events of the day. Here are a few highlights:
- Research things that are important to us that might be affected by choices made by our government
- Making postcards to send to MPPs
- Viewing a film about protecting the environment
- Creating skits about taking a stand on issues
- A wish list of drawing of what we want the world to be like when we are 18
- Discussion about the historical context of strikes
- Discussion about government budgets, and decisions about cuts — what would they do the same? What would they do differently? Where might they find savings instead?
- View video about Greta Thunberg
- Write a journal about the day, or letter to an MPP
Examples of Middle and High School Activities:
- Discussion about the history and importance of the day; in pairs, research an element and share learning with others
- Discussion about governments’ budgets, focusing on things to be cut. Consider who would be impacted by these cuts. Find historical/referenced arguments for/against cutting of similar things. Find alternatives.
- Discussion about the history of labour movement media and protest media in art, music and in history. Where were the women and people of colour in these conversations?
- Write letters to MPPs, or letters to themselves to read when they become leaders themselves.
How can families and staff participate?
Linden community members are invited to participate in activities related to this day of action. Instead of cancelling school, Linden will remain open for developmentally appropriate learning activities all day. Students may attend school, remain at home in solidarity with striking workers, or participate in other rallies and public events around the city.
Messages of solidarity from Linden community members
We have chosen this course of action as we believe it supports the objectives of the day of action and enables our staff to participate. Most importantly, it allows us to model living our values to our students and provide a rich learning opportunity for civic action. Here are some of the sentiments shared by community members:
So many have worked so hard to get all voices at the table. We are protesting because Doug Ford is getting voices off the table!!! The Linden School works daily to bring in voices that have not been heard, need to be heard, and want to be heard. We raise our voices to BE HEARD !!! ALL of us.
—Diane Goudie and Eleanor Moore, The Linden School Co-founders
I'm privileged because I work in a school that welcomed this idea. If we, the privileged, remain quiet and complacent for the sake of civility, we are permitting oppressors to shout over our silence.
—Coco Lee, Senior School Teacher
What a fantastic learning opportunity for young women! I am proud that my daughter is supported in using her voice to advocate for change.
—Allison Bain, Proud Grade 12 Parent
I'm incredibly proud that Linden has made space for families to take part in the May Day actions. Doug Ford and his clapping seals have no mandate for the deep cuts they're imposing on public schools and public services. It's important for us to tell them: No. And it's a beautiful act of solidarity for Linden to help its community members do just that. Thank you!
—Andy Pedersen, Proud Grade 5 Parent