Governor General holds first-ever Forum at Rideau Hall - "From the Abolition of the Slave Trade to the Elimination of Racial Discrimination"



    OTTAWA, March 16 /CNW Telbec/ - On the occasion of the International Day
for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, and in advance of
the United Nations International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th
Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on March 25, Her
Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada,
will hold the first-ever Student Forum "From the Abolition of the Slave Trade
to the Elimination of Racial Discrimination", at Rideau Hall, on Wednesday,
March 21, 2007, at 10:00 a.m.
    The purpose of the forum is to raise awareness about the historical
significance of the abolition of the slave trade and to promote a dialogue
among citizens on the importance of eliminating racism and promoting human
rights in 21st- century Canadian society.
    "The Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act is important to
Canadians because it reminds us of the legacy of slavery in Canada, and of the
efforts that citizens continue to display every day to build a more just and
equitable society. We all have much to learn from these heroes-slaves,
lawmakers, community and religious leaders, and ordinary citizens-who dared to
dream of a better world. And by their audacity, they helped put an end to one
of the most barbaric chapters in our history," said the Governor General.
    In addition to the March 21 event, the Governor General is, today,
launching an online pan-Canadian forum "From the Abolition of the Slave Trade
to the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" at
http://www.citizenvoices.gg.ca/en/forums/13 . Encouraging all Canadians to
join forces to eliminate racial discrimination, the Governor General invites
Canadians to share their experiences and ideas on how to combat racism and
foster greater understanding between individuals and groups.
    The ideas and information expressed through the virtual forum will be
used to inform the discussion at the Governor General's Student Forum on March
21. Participants will assemble at Rideau Hall to discuss the significance of
the 200th anniversary and the need to consolidate efforts to combat racial
discrimination across Canada. Governor General Michaelle Jean will offer words
of welcome. Panellists and participants will include students, people such as
Lawrence Hill, Joanne St-Lewis, Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne and Roméo Saganash
who work or study in the field of racism and discrimination, as well as
performances by the Bigstone Singers, Ranee Lee, C.M., and Nova Scotia poet
Shauntay Grant. This event is supported by the Department of Canadian
Heritage.

    March 16, 2007

    Launch of the online pan-Canadian forum
    The Governor General launches the national virtual forum on "Abolition
and the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" at
http://www.citizenvoices.gg.ca/en/forums/13 .

    March 21, 2007

    10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    Ballroom at Rideau Hall
    Governor General's Student Forum "From the Abolition of the Slave Trade
to the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" The Governor General joins
students and civic leaders in a discussion on eliminating racism.

    OPEN TO THE MEDIA

    Members of the media interested in covering this event are asked to
contact the Rideau Hall Press Office.




For further information:

For further information: Marilyne Guèvremont, Rideau Hall Press Office,
(613) 998-7280, www.gg.ca

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