Edmonton Public teachers work everyday with students from all around the world who attend our schools and are members of our communities.
Like so many, we were disappointed to hear the comments expressed by Trustee Cheryl Johner at the public board meeting held on June 23rd 2020.
We do not condone or believe the comments made, and feel she has done the right thing by resigning from the Board.
All students in Edmonton Public should feel welcome, supported, and safe within our schools.
Our relationships with all of our students is based on trust, and an understanding that they will be treated respectfully and without prejudice. We recognise that now is a time to reflect on all of our practices and attitudes and to strive to do better to combat systemic racism wherever it exists, including in our schools and division.
Edmonton Public Teachers Local 37 of the Alberta Teachers' Association stands in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, communities of colour, as well as those that identify with those communities.
Anti-racism rallies and protests have prompted reactions from around the world.
This moment in time has created a space to listen without judgment to those that have experienced the powerlessness so often felt by institutionalized and systemic racism.
Anger, frustration, grief, fear and pain have been brought to the surface and should not be ignored.
However the time is now for we as individuals… brothers & sisters… mothers & fathers… teachers… to move from reaction to response when faced with racism, whether overt or systemic.
We have seen events like the tragedy of George Floyd’s death reinforce the fact that change is needed.
Change that starts with and is led by our elected officials. Change to systemic inequities in law enforcement agencies, and educational institutions. But most importantly, change in our belief structures.
While George Floyd’s death was not the first, his death has prompted people to reflect on their own experiences of privilege and fragility.
People must acknowledge that disagreeing with racism (or being anti-racist) is not enough anymore.
We are at a tipping point in history where we must actively denounce all forms of racial prejudice and xenophobia.
Now is the time to hear from and listen to those that can help us understand their experiences of discrimination and marginalization.
Now is the time to acknowledge and take responsibility for systemic barriers that our communities of colour are facing.
Now is the time to collectively take action to remove the barriers of inequity and imbalances of social power.
Now is the time to build a capacity of trust where all communities of color feel welcome, included, accepted, heard, and above all else... loved.
Local 37 stands in solidarity with all members of our community of colour and is committed to supporting actions that will suppress inequalities and unjust privilege as we move this work forward.
We are stronger together.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
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