Celebrating Our Diversity
- By Theresa Sweeney

Claude Labossiere knows what it feels like to be judged on the basis of physical appearance. "It makes me upset, mad, even furious," he says, "that people don't get to know me first." Rather than simply complaining though, Claude, a 17-year-old junior at American Heritage high school in Broward County, is doing some- thing to help open young minds. He enrolled in a Heritage Panel seminar sponsored by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ).

Participants in this two-day training program learn to value their own ethnic heritage and get a better understanding of prejudice and from where it comes. They gain new appreciation for the cultural background of others and for the racial problems confronting our society. The workshop participants then become certified panelists who organize and appear on Heritage Panels in their schools, helping to educate and stimulate dialogue among their fellow classmates.

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