News release details
A leader in creating 2SLGBTQI+ programs for students and teachers is the new Educator in Residence at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).
Walter Cassidy (he/him) will bring decades of experience highlighting queer and trans issues to this national role. An educator, historian and activist, his work has helped address the underrepresentation of 2SLGBTQI+ people in schools and communities across Canada. A teacher for the Greater Essex County District School Board, he will be the third person to serve as Educator in Residence and the first from Ontario.
"The evidence shows that when kids see themselves in the curriculum, it makes a world of difference to their sense of self‐worth. This is particularly true if they might be questioning who they are, or if they have voices in their life that call into question the validity of their gender identity or sexuality," said Cassidy. "There are queer and trans icons in every community in Canada – but we have to do the work of learning their names and sharing their stories. And that’s what I’m going to do in this role with the Museum."
The Museum’s Educator in Residence program began in 2017 to foster and support the development of human rights education programs for young learners, both on site and online. Following a national call for applications, an outstanding educator is selected for a two‐year term position.
The program has led to the creation of innovative education platforms, including Be an Upstander and Pass the Mic, which help teachers inspire students to take action on human rights issues in their community.
During his two‐year term, Cassidy will help create programs to highlight people in communities across Canada who fought for 2SLGBTQI+ rights. He will also help develop education programs to share stories from the LGBT Purge, which is the focus of an upcoming exhibition at the Museum.
Lise Pinkos (she/her), the CMHR’s Director of Programs, said that Cassidy’s hiring is important in the national conversation about 2SLGBTQI+ education.
"In the face of backlash against 2SLGBTQI+ people and content in the classroom, we take very seriously our responsibility to act," said Pinkos. "Often, the stories of 2SLGBTQI+ people are erased or straightwashed. With Walter’s leadership, our goal is to work with those in the community to reclaim and celebrate these stories."
About Walter Cassidy
Walter Cassidy (he/him) is a Windsor‐based teacher with the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB), a historian and an activist.
He has over 20 years experience in the classroom. Among his many contributions to innovative education practices, he founded and chairs the GECDSB Gay Straight Alliance for Staff. He also created the Pride in Education resource for educators and teaches a course at the University of Windsor titled “How to Teach LGBTQ Students.”
He is the Chair of the Windsor/Essex Rainbow Alliance, which is working to preserve regional 2SLGBTQI+ history. He has published on various 2SLGBTQI+ moments in Windsor history, including a local timeline going back to 1803.
He also has experience curating content for museums. Last year, he had an exhibit titled “180 years of 2SLGBTQI+ Visibility” at the Chimczuk Museum. He also co‐curated an exhibit at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum entitled “Black, Queer and Here.”
Among his academic credentials, he holds a BFA from Concordia University, a B.Ed. from the University of Windsor and an MFA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
He has received several awards for his work, including the Windsor Pride’s Community Leadership Award and the Windsor and District Labour Council Education Advocacy Award.