Together with Asian Canadian students, educators, professionals, not-for profit organizations, working groups, and leaders, we are writing to you in support of Black communities in Ontario, allies and other organizations involved in anti-racism, equity and social justice, and everyone who is concerned about the increasing threats to anti-racism education in Ontario, particularly initiatives aimed to challenge and prevent anti-Black racism.
We would like to express our most profound concern and sadness at the recent attack on anti-racism work in our province and demand that this critical work not be trivialized, demonized, misrepresented, or delayed. Our communities have suffered for far too long, and we will not stand by idly while our progress is being jeopardized.
Racial disparities are heavily embedded in our education and other systems, and these inequalities have been acknowledged by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and other distinguished organizations. The Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed that anti-Black racism is a social determinant of health. Black children, Black educators, and Black workers across the province continue to be subjected to systemic anti-Black racism daily, which evidently takes a toll on their mental health, socioeconomic status, and overall well-being.
Confronting anti-Black racism in education work is crucial in safeguarding our children’s future and ensuring they have equal access to opportunities, resources, and services. Disrupting this work consequently obstructs dire efforts to address, challenge, and prevent all other forms of racism, discrimination, and oppression.
It is essential that all levels of government respond to this situation and are held accountable for their pledges to address and confront anti-Black racism and all other forms of racism. Together we amplify the call to action and demands being put forward by Parents of Black Children, Ontario Alliance for Black School Educators, and many other Black-led organizations, leaders, and activists.
We are collectively demanding the following actions from the governments and those with power and influence:
1. Publicly reaffirm your commitment to anti-racism work in Ontario, and denounce any attempts to undermine or halt these efforts.
2. Hold school boards accountable for complying the government legislation in the Education Act and the Better Schools and Outcomes Act that expects competency from principals and educators in equity and human rights.
3. Meet with representatives from Black communities and anti-racist organizations to discuss strategies for enhancing and strengthening the fight against systemic racism and oppression.
4. Develop and implement a comprehensive plan to address the root causes of racial disparities in education and other systems and launch an OHRC inquiry into anti-Black racism within the education system.
5. Release a public statement reaffirming a commitment to anti-racism work, to ensure that organizations like the Ontario Principals Council, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, Ontario Teachers Federation, all Catholic counterparts, and Ontario school boards, understand that advocacy and anti-racism work are critical mandates within the education system.
6. Provide transparency on the scope and purpose of the review of the TDSB’s 2021 training and expand this to an equity review of all school boards with a proven track record of equity, anti-oppression, and anti-racism work.
8. Distribute increased resources to support implementing anti-racism initiatives and programs in educational institutions and other sectors.
9. Publicly denounce the scapegoating of the Kojo Institute.
We call for immediate and concrete steps to address these concerns and demonstrate your unwavering commitment to anti-racism work in Ontario.
This is a critical moment in our province’s history, and we expect you to be on the side of progress and justice.
Asian Canadian Educators Network (ACENet
Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC)
Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ)
Chinese Canadian National Council – Toronto Chapter (CCNC-TO)
Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA)
Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation (KCSF)
Tamil Canadian Centre for Civic Action (TCCCA)
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO)
University of Toronto Asian Alliance
Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR)