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BC establishes anti-racism community roundtable

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:31 PDT, Fri July 24, 2020

A new community roundtable on anti-racism in education has been created to support the development of an anti-racism action plan. The roundtable will strengthen BC’s K–12 curriculum, ensuring the culture, beliefs and ancestry of all students and staff are accepted, celebrated and understood.

“There is no place for racism, discrimination or intolerance in British Columbia—in our schools or anywhere else,” said Premier John Horgan. “We are bringing important voices to the table to help us bolster culture-based learning in the education system and build a better and more inclusive future for BC.”

Education Minister Rob Fleming, has brought together community leaders from a wide range of groups to better understand the impact of racism on BC students and provide input into strengthening and developing new policies and programs that promote anti-racism. The roundtable held its first meeting today, and will continue to meet as the action plan is developed.

“Now is the time to listen, learn, engage and act,” Fleming said. “We are committed to working with community and education partners to build a meaningful and lasting anti-racism action plan to ensure schools are safe and welcoming places where diversity is celebrated.”

This is the first in a series of conversations to guide the ministry and BC education partners in understanding barriers faced by Indigenous students and students of colour. Fleming has asked the First Nations Leadership Council, the First Nations Education Steering Committee and Métis Nation BC to help set up a distinct Indigenous table and co-develop its approach. A new student advisory group will also be formed in the fall to hear directly from students on their experiences.

The community roundtable on anti-racism in education builds on a series of community dialogues led by Ravi Kahlon, former parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism, last summer. The feedback from these meetings informed the development of Resilience BC, a provincewide anti-racism network announced in November 2019. 

The network connects communities with the information, supports and training they need to respond to and prevent future incidents of racism and hate at a local and regional level. Resilience BC is being established in 40 communities.

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