Photo courtesy of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Ogimaawabiitong (Kenora Chiefs Advisory) is proud to have had our own Youth Council member Harmony Scott represent Treaty #3 and our partner communities as she attended and spoke at this year’s Unity, Allyship and the Spirit of Hope Gala in Toronto.

Held by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies on November 2, more than 1,250 Jewish community members and non-Jewish allies came together for a meaningful night of unity and resolve – including Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, and actress Helen Mirren.

KCA Youth Council member Harmony Scott of Northwest Angle #33 First Nation was invited to open the evening and speak alongside Holocaust survivor Gershon Willinger after the two travelled to Poland and Israel over the summer.

“Gershon and I spoke about the special educational journey – Compassion to Action trip we attended this past July. During the trip, I had the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust and visited several death camps. This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and will stick with me for the rest of my life.

 Given my First Nations background and what our people have suffered, I’m particularly sensitive when it comes to matters of genocide. I shared a lot of personal knowledge about the history of our people and was able to connect and build strong relationships with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal.

When I was asked to speak at the Gala, I did not hesitate for a second. The work they have done and continue to do is so meaningful. They are committed to the mission of combatting antisemitism and all forms of hate. I know this collaboration will only pave the way for more First Nations youth to participate and make meaningful connections. I look forward to continuing future collaborations with FSWC.”

Ogimaawabiitong (KCA) sends a huge Miigwetch to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies for including one of our Youth Council members on such a special evening, and to Harmony for sharing her journey and experiences with those in attendance.

This year’s gala event helped to raise $3.2 million – funds that will go towards FSWC’s educational programs that teach youth about the Holocaust, antisemitism, and human rights.

Established in 1989, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is one of Canada’s leading human rights and social advocacy organizations. Inspired by the legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, FSWC works to build a more inclusive and respectful Canada by sharing the lessons of the Holocaust, advocating for human rights, and combatting both antisemitism and hate in all its forms.