“Ontario’s Catholic teachers have watched in dismay over the past several weeks as yet more horrific acts of racist violence have been committed, and authorities have reacted with harsh and cruel tactics to the understandable anguish and protest that has erupted as a result.
Our Association has tried to use this time to make space for Black and other racialized voices, and to share resources that will help teachers and others understand and confront the racism that clearly exists in our communities. However, on behalf of our members, our students, and our neighbours, it is also important that we unequivocally condemn not only the overt acts of racism and violence we see, but also the systemic discrimination that causes many Black and other racialized people to live with fear and anxiety, and prevents them from accessing services and fully participating in their communities.
Although recent media attention has focused on the United States, we recognize that these issues persist in Ontario and Canada. We also recognize that it is not enough to call for peace and equality; we must actively work toward justice. Catholic teachers pray for the families of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all other victims of racism and violence. We also pledge to do our part to eliminate prejudice and discrimination from our schools and our society, for example by countering stereotypes, incorporating Black and other racialized histories and perspectives in our teaching, and continuing to promote equitable opportunities for Black and racialized teachers and other members of the education community and the labour movement.”
Liz Stuart, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association