Mother Slays Dragon
This is my belated Mother’s Day tribute to Maria Gallardo, who, in looking out for her son, was willing, and more than able, to take on anyone who got in her way.
Four years ago this month I wrote a blog entitled “As Canadian as…. a Knife and Fork,” which commented on the disturbing experience of a young Filipino-Canadian boy. The youngster, Luc Cagadoc, was then a Grade 2 student at a Montreal-area school and he was repeatedly admonished and humiliated by a lunch monitor for the manner in which he chose to use his eating utensils. The school principal and local school board both supported the lunch monitor and adamantly refused to apologize for their intolerant behaviour when they were called upon to do so by Luc’s mother. But Maria Gallardo would not allow the issue to just fade away.
Not willing to just accept her son’s mistreatment, Luc’s mom filed a complaint with the Province of Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal. Last month, the Tribunal ruled that the school and its two employees discriminated against Luc as a result of his ethnicity and ordered them to pay Luc’s family $17,000 in damages.
So I want to acknowledge and express my admiration for Luc’s mother, Maria Gallardo. She taught her son and all of us a very important life lesson. The “authorities,” whoever they may be, do not always act properly. When they are abusive, she taught us that we ought to have the courage to stand up to them. Even if we don’t win, we will have done what is right. And sometimes, as in Luc’s case, we do win.
For representing everything that is great about mothers, I salute Maria Gallardo.