It has been a tremendously fulfilling and rewarding journey.
The progress and achievement of Toronto ALPHA has been none other than outstanding and amazing, thanks to the cooperative effort of volunteers and educators. The collective vision has steered the organization into a direction that exemplifies the best virtues of global citizenship, of respecting life and dignity, of embracing peace and harmony. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a group of dedicated and selfless individuals who share similar ideals and vision of a caring world. Whatever little that I can contribute, in terms of my time, and my experience and role of a connector, I will continue to walk this meaningful path with people that I got inspired by and learned from.
Toronto ALPHA will forever have a place in my heart.
It has never been possible for me to turn away from the cause of ALPHA ever since I personally met the survivors and listened to their heart wrenching stories. Their tear-filled eyes, their trembling hands, their horrendous stories will never leave my mind. Even many of them had already left; my pledge to them cannot be erased. All victims and heroes of the atrocities including Iris Chang have inspired me and brought me to another level of understanding humanity, including my own self.
Our mandate to foster human rights education for peace and reconciliation has been validated by numerous education initiatives including the study tour; the Canadian Parliamentary Motion on ‘Comfort Women’; the making of ‘Iris Chang – the Rape of Nanking’ docudrama and so on. As the coordinator of many education projects in the past years, I have been able to share the vision of promoting awareness of Asian WWII atrocities and its significance to people around the world.
I wish I could continue to use my past years of corporate and community experiences to serve the organization and the cause; to build up solidarity with people sharing similar passion around the world; and to engage our young generation to take up the torch in the future.
My involvement with Toronto ALPHA can be simply described as a series of unexpected, but surely inspiring encounters with people, the life behind them, histories and even my own potentials.
It all started from one evening when I met a fragile but feisty grandma Jang in November of 2007 who came to testify for the 'Comfort Women' motion movement in Canada, as if that was all pre planned turning point of my life. When she entered my house for the first time, I saw my own grandma standing. It is quite amazing that how her presence became so personal to me instantly without any previous connection to her at all. My emotional engagement into her story became more prominent as my time spending with her increased.
Once her story touched my heart, I had to do something. Sitting there doing nothing isn't an option any more. That's when I joined Toronto ALPHA and the rest of my journey to this day is history. I have been passionately involved in the work of Toronto ALPHA with the best of my ability and beyond. I am adding a word 'beyond' because I have matured and learned a lot more than I thought I could.
One of the things I have been persistently pursuing since my participation in Toronto ALPHA was to bridge the gap between Toronto ALPHA and the Korean community. I am confident to say that I have been successful to connect the two communities more closely and I am more than enthusiastic about continuing that role. Toronto ALPHA has a warm place in my heart. Not only the work of Toronto ALPHA excites me, but also the people I met within and through the organization enriches my life. I hope to continue walking the journey of contributing to preserve the humanity where I live and beyond as I am committed to continue serving my duty as a Board of Director of Toronto ALPHA.
I am very passionate towards Toronto ALPHA's mission and work. I found our mission very meaningful even though it is an extremely challenging task. I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to work with other Board members and volunteers who are so committed, dedicated and giving. I have met so many wonderful people through ALPHA who believe so strongly in 'Justice', which my father had taught me when I was very young. I am proud to be a member of Toronto ALPHA!
For over 10 years, I have been active in helping with different charitable organizations. I know many people from different professions, backgrounds, races and communities and I believe I could use my strength in connecting people for this good cause that I firmly believe.
I will continue taking an active role to help raise fund for ALPHA as I understand the needs of financial support. Together with my core group of friends and volunteers; we will strive to do our best in every campaign, fundraising event and education project.
ALPHA’s commitment to helping educators, and specifically teachers, understand the events of World War 11 based on the stories of survivors and the research of respected scholars is the reason I feel so passionately about helping ALPHA achieve its goals. Their work goes beyond the actual topic. It reinforces the importance of helping educators deliver a more inclusive curriculum that truly reflects the actual events and the lived experiences of many of the families of the students and staff in our classrooms and in our community. Based on my experiences in meeting and talking to teachers who have participated in a study tour, watched the videos or read about these events, their curriculum and instructional strategies have been transformed. The knowledge they have gained stimulates curiosity, critical thinking and deepens understanding. This is reflected in how they teach and in what students learn.
As global citizens in a multicultural society an inclusive curriculum is imperative. It is key to the government’s equity policy. ALPHA plays a key role in implementing this policy.
It is a privilege to work with extraordinary leaders like Dr. Joseph Wong and the ALPHA team to help realize this goal.
Toronto ALPHA is an amazing organization which focuses on unearthing the Asian World War II history and educating our next generation about this forgotten history to avoid history repeating itself. I am really lucky that I can be part of the Board of Toronto ALPHA in the past 3 years. Through organizing various events for Toronto ALPHA, I learned a lot about the cause from the leaders and volunteers of ALPHA, educators, survivors and peace activists. I feel that there is an emergency for us to promote the awareness of this chapter of history as most survivors are very old and will leave us soon. Testimonies of survivors are important archival evidences and need to be collected and preserved before they perish. I wish I could continue to serve the Board, able to speak for the voiceless and help out future events and education initiatives in promoting ALPHA’s missions. I will continue to work as a team with all Board Members of Toronto ALPHA in sharing our vision with other education institutions and organizations.
I am the coordinator of the Catholic Social Justice Secondary Cohort at the University Of Toronto, Ontario Institute For Studies In Education. I know and believe that teachers, as caring adults, can and do make a difference. It is essential that teacher candidates, in their initial training, are formed as reflective practitioners and life-long learners, guided by principles of equity and social justice. ALPHA helps me in the task of preparing new teachers for this task. I wish that ALPHA had been around when I was a young teacher with the Toronto Catholic District Board.
As a proud and committed volunteer with ALPHA, I am continually impressed with the organization’s commitment to social justice and global citizenship. I applaud ALPHA’s initiative in working directly with Canadian youth. I am confident that this work will sensitize students to the dangers of racial and ethnic intolerance and the importance of engaged and ethical citizenship. ALPHA has the respect and admiration of the major stakeholders in Ontario education.
Dr. Joseph Wong and Flora Chong inspire me to be a better teacher and a better citizen. I wish them every success as I continue to work with and learn from them and ALPHA in the future.
It is my honour to be able to write you this letter , being invited to join a group who not only believe in social justice, but also acting selflessly for such goal.
I have been working closely with the Toronto Chinese media for the past 10-15 years. During these days, I have witnessed how the world has been changing, for better or worse. The abundance of information and opportunities I was presented with, made me hard to remain a bystander in the course of history. I had come to realized that in such highly commercialized global environment, indices in the stock markets dominate the lives of generations, and the will of many governments. Justice and peace would be nothing but theoretical dreams, if there were no one taking the very first steps and stand up for it.
Toronto ALPHA, along with other ALPHAs, have demonstrated that there are people who care. People who feel for one another, willing to extend a helping hand, are not alone, but can be united. Through peaceful, intellectual documentations and educations, ALPHA have led thousands of people to restore hope in humanity. I admire such aspiration. I wish I can be a humble part of such global movement. I wish that I can put my experiences in the media, my training as an emcee, my goodwill with various sectors of communities, and my passion as a human, to good use for Toronto ALPHA.
Whether serving occasionally on the side, or working closely with the core group, I would remain a faithful supporter to the Toronto ALPHA.
My involvement with Toronto ALPHA has been such an important learning opportunity for me and I want to work to extend this opportunity to as many teachers as possible. I believe that my background as a secondary school teacher, a curriculum consultant with the Toronto District School Board, a volunteer with Facing History and Ourselves, and a teacher educator at both York University Faculty of Education and OISE, University of Toronto gives me a broad perspective on how to support teachers who take on the challenge of teaching for social justice.
I am very excited to work with ALPHA to develop initiatives that will provide teachers with resources and appropriate pedagogy to teach the history of World War II in Asia. I believe that it is important for ALPHA to support teachers to teach this history in a way that not only provides students with information but also engages them in critical moral reflection and encourages their own social activism.
My involvement with Facing History and Ourselves has convinced me of the value of working in depth with teachers to provide professional development opportunities that encourage and support best practices in their classrooms. I believe that ALPHA and Facing History and Ourselves share a common purpose and can not only support each other’s work but also work together on joint initiatives. I hope to facilitate the development of this partnership.
What an honour to be involved with Toronto Alpha! It is a privilege to volunteer and learn alongside a team of dedicated individuals – all working towards common goals of education, truth and enlightenment.
For over 25 years I have been an elected School Board Trustee first with the North York Board of Education and now the Toronto District School Board. I have been President of the Ontario Public School Boards Association and the Canadian School Boards Association, as well as serving on the Toronto Board of Health, The Learning Partnership of Canada, and several provincial committees. Throughout my work I have witnessed the power of education across Canada and how it can change lives, build community and indeed, mend fences. I believe in developing outstanding educational programs that challenge students to achieve their very best. My work has always been to promote and encourage the development of fine programs throughout our schools.
Several years ago I bought a motion to the Board to develop a course for secondary students on Genocide. After all, some of the darkest times in history can produce the richest learning material for our students. Not only would they learn about significant historical events but they would also learn about the seeds of prejudice, the role of the victim, by-stander and heroes, the folly of blind patriotism, issues of social justice, the part that international law plays ( or does not play) etc.
During the course of preparing for that course on Genocide I saw the Iris Chang The Rape Of Nanking and met Dr. Wong and Flora Chong. I was astounded that there was a lack of teaching about World War 11 in Asia -simply because our curriculum is largely Eurocentric. A year later I went on the study tour to China and Korea and I became determined to do what I could to help bring to our school system the horrors of the years during the occupation of the Japanese Imperial Army.
Our leaders at ALPHA Flora and Joseph are exemplary role models, visionaries and teachers. Their mission is noble, worthwhile and important. I am blessed to be part of their team.