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March 2019

Issues of race and racialization have always been tied to the topic of immigration in Canada. The Chinese head tax, and the Komagata Maru and the turning away of Jewish Refugees after World War II are all part of Canada's history, and were deeply influenced by perceptions of race citizenship, and identity.  Similar dynamics influence people's perception of “what is Canadian” and lead to the creation of residential schools Canada and its lasting legacy today.

Now in 2019 the issues of race and immigration remain intertwined.  It is one of the key tension points of the yellow vest protests both in Canada and abroad.  Debates about real estate, temporary foreign workers, terrorism, and a Trump US-Mexican border wall all intersect with this.  

It's important for teachers and students to try to navigate these topics in ways that strive for depth, knowledge and context.  The recent Covington High School incident in the United States is both a cogent example of how race and immigration are connected in both people's thoughts and actions, and a cautionary tale to remind us how important it is to work to understand the full scope of a story before we rush to a conclusion.

In addition, February is Black History month in Canada and the US, and is an opportunity for us to remember that the racial dynamics of slavery (and the liberation from it) and immigration that came with it are key parts of Canada's history.  

This month's focus on Anti-Racism is a good opportunity for us all to learn reflect, and deepen our understanding of these topics for both our students, and ourselves.

By Antiracism Action Group, CASJ

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SJ Calendar event Mar


March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination kicks off the Week of Solidarity with People Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination (March 21-27). Check out the BCTF Antiracism Action Group webpages for resources to use throughout the week.



During International Women's Week, March 3 to 9 and International Women's Day, on March 8, check out the Educator's toolkit on the Status of Women International Women's Day webpage.

The Status of Women webpage features lessons and resources to use on these dates, including the International Women's Day Timeline poster, available in English and French, and the International Women's Day Lesson Plan

March 31 is the Transgender Day of Visibility. A useful resource from the Canadian Teachers Federation as is Safe and Caring Schools for Two Spirit Youth from the Two Spirit Circle Education Society and Alberta Teachers' Association.  Visit the BCTF LGBTQ resources webpage for links to more resources that will help make schools more inclusive for trans students.

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Racism in Canada: Secondary lesson plans

These three lessons are meant to be taught as a unit in a sequential manner so that students can learn about racism through a combination of experiential activities, history, and via their own lived experiences.  Lesson 1-Auctioning of personal possessions Lesson 2-Racism in the sporting world Lesson 3-Parliamentary debate.


Please visit the BCTF Social Justice Antiracism webpage to access many useful tools and resources for you classroom.  You can download and print many of the resources or to order hard copies, email, including the number and exact name of the items needed and the mailing address.


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Incorporating Antiracist Education into BC's Revised Curriculum

This workshop looks at privilege in society and how the legacy of our colonial past has shaped our present.  It provides some youth perspectives on racism in schools, and explores strategies to recognize and eliminate racism in society, classrooms, schools, and community.


The BCTF has many workshops on Antiracism issues that are free to book for teachers. You will find them listed below.

Responding to Discrimination in the Workplace and the Classroom
Assertive Communication

Strategies for Discussing Controversial Issues

To request these or other social justice workshops for a school-based, local, or regional professional development day or School Union Representative Training (SURT) day, click on the Book this Workshop link below the workshop description on the BCTF Social Justice and Global Education Workshops page.

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Raising awareness


Please see the resources under the Visible Minorities section on the Raising Awareness webpage. Here is an example of what you will find:

Why “I'm not racist” is only half the story





Delving Deeper


Please see the resources under the Visible Minorities section on the Delving Deeper webpage. Here is an example of what you will find:

Why I am no longer talking to white people about race

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There are still limited funds available for 2018/2019 Ed May Social Responsibility Grants and Local Social Justice Grants for the 2018-19 school year but time is running out.  Deadline is early April and projects must be completed this year.


Todd Patrick
Assistant Director of Social Justice
BC Teachers' Federation
100-550 West 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4P2

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