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"Since this federal election campaign began, issues of racism, white supremacy, anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia have been playing out across Canada. Every party has had to address inappropriate comments or social media postings by candidates.

This stew boiled over with the release of shocking photos of Justin Trudeau in blackface. No doubt these images are a topic of discussion in your staff room. Possibly they’re providing a teachable moment in your classroom. 

As we’ve seen in the media, Canadians have mixed feelings about these images and what impact they could or should have on Trudeau’s political future. That’s not important, in my view. But, whatever your personal reaction as a citizen and a voter, your reaction as a teacher is important. 

The leadership that teachers show in the coming days can have a significant impact on everyone in our communities—especially Black, Indigenous, and people of colour whose experience of racism is revived by these hurtful images. We need to recognize that racialized colleagues, students, and their families will be feeling the impact of this news and would welcome words and gestures of support. 

To assist in this work, the BCTF has resources on our TeachBC database that you can use in your classroom and anti-racism workshops you can book for your school. Learn more about the Federation’s work around Equity and Inclusion, including our Guide to Allyship. And racialized members may find useful information in this article about self-care in the face of daily racism. 

Now is the time to stand in solidarity against racism. Now is the time to learn to be better allies. Let’s work together to ensure our schools are inclusive, safe spaces for all."

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For more information, contact Rich Overgaard, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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