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Black advocacy, efforts to challenge racism a job for all including educators

January 31, 2017

Beyond celebrating Black History Month in February, challenging Black racism is a job for everyone who believes in an inclusive society and that task starts with education.

As part of its ongoing curriculum resources for public elementary schools on social justice issues, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has released a poster featuring 12 Black individuals who have been awarded the Order of Ontario since 2003. ETFO will also release curriculum resources for primary, junior and intermediate grades later this year which will focus on Black history, culture and issues.

“Challenging oppression can take many forms. For students, we’re providing resources that both celebrate Black lives and address individual, systemic and institutional racism in age-appropriate ways,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.

The Order of Ontario recipients featured on the ETFO poster include Howard McCurdy, co-founder of the National Black Coalition of Canada, Ovid Jackson, a teacher and politician whose life work addressed the needs of young people, newcomers and people with disabilities, and Dr. Avis Glaze, an innovative leader in the field of education. The poster is on the ETFO website.

Last spring ETFO sent a letter of support to Black Lives Matter – Toronto which also called for more concrete action by the Ontario government to combat racism. The Federation supports recent moves by Pride Toronto to address issues raised by Black Lives Matter.

“We can only change lives and institutions if all of us who believe in an inclusive society become an ally and lead where we can to fight oppression,” added Hammond.

​ETFO is committed to building better schools. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at www.buildingbetterschools.ca. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.