Eugene Reimer Middle School in Abbotsford is partnering with The Reach Gallery Museum to present the Equity Backpack exhibit.
The show is open until Nov. 13 and showcases the project that began early this year, led by teacher Nerlap Sidhu and supported by principal Ian Levings and the school’s Indigenous support worker, Jaxon Orth.
It involved 60 Grade 6 students creating “backpacks” out of cardboard. The outside of the packs were decorated with students’ promises to themselves and the world such as “I promise to help others and feel empathy by connecting with everyone’s story.”
They also included baby photos of themselves to “celebrate their story.”
The students also participated in five more activities – including “equity art” – for the inside of the backpacks, and produced a related video series.
The goal was to teach the students about equity, inclusion and anti-racism.
The project is continuing to grow. Students are now preparing an Equity Backpack digital exhibit they plan to share across B.C. and with other cities in Canada to inspire others.
Laura Schneider, executive director at The Reach, said the gallery-museum is “really proud” to host the exhibit.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with young artists in our community, and this is doubly true when they use their talents to express their hopes for a better future and a more just society,” she said.
Eugene Reimer Middle School student Gurshaan, 12, said: “It is important to have the Equity Backpack Project at the museum so that people can learn about us and our stories. We hope that the Equity Backpack exhibit can start positive conversations in our community about equity and inclusion.”
Grade 7 student Rajvir, said, “It feels amazing to have created something so inspiring and it is so cool that our equity backpacks are in an actual museum.”
Visit thereach.ca for more information.