The Power to Enrich

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The Legacy of Jane

Posted by admin February - 27 - 2013 0 Comment

RVS Guest Author: Teresa Cardinal, FNMI Learning Specialist – As a parent and an educator, I often reflect back on my day and review the impact I have had on my children and on the people I work with. What legacy do I leave behind? This got me to thinking about a few women who have had an impact on me and who coincidentally are all named Jane!

Jane Austen and her elusive search for love inspired many storytellers to model her work, but also inspired many women to only marry for love, as she advised her niece in 1814. Jane was raised in a creative home that inspired individuals to reach their own successes. In an era where women predominately married to secure their financial future, Jane went against societal ‘norms’ to become a beloved author and inspiration to many people over time. In her own words: “One man’s style must not be the rule of another’s” is advice that is just as relevant today.

Jane Jacobs has had a tremendous impact on urban planning and renewal. An activist, she took on giants and won many victories, leaving her influence still visible today. Her common-sense approach to building communities that celebrated diversity and creative chaos and that led to a sense of belonging for residents, while retaining the cultural influence of the individual, is being modelled our classrooms today! Every year in May, Jane walks are held around the world, to encourage people to get to know their communities and each other!

On April 5, 1968, Grade 3 Teacher Jane Elliott exposed her class of all white children to an exercise that delved into racism. The controversial “blue-eyed/brown-eyed” exercise is often cited as being a landmark in social science. Jane’s students produced essays summarizing their experience and these essays were published in local newspapers under the title “How discrimination feels”. This opened up Jane’s work in anti-racism education. Jane has been called the inventor of diversity training, and while many may not agree with her approach, she opens up a conversation about apathy and how we are all a part of a solution to end racism.

What legacy do you leave behind?