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December 2021 Newsletter

Reconciliation to me is about not having to say sorry a second time - Dr. Cindy Blackstock
Conversion "Therapy" now banned across Canada

Today, Canada's Senate officially passed Bill C-4, which outlaws "conversion therapy," a form of torture and abuse directed at LGBTQ2S+ people - in particular, against LGBTQ2S+ youth. The newly-passed law defines "conversion therapy" as follows: 

a practice, treatment or service designed to
(a) change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual;
(b) change a person’s gender identity to cisgender;
(c) change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth;
(d) repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour;
(e) repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or
(f) repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.


Survivors and allies have fought for many years to make these changes in the law a reality. As educators, we have the responsibility to ensure that no student us subjected to "conversion therapy," and to make sure that it is not advertised or recommended to anyone - including in the context of school or services recommended by anyone in a school.

Thank you to everyone across Canada (including some AOEC members) who worked on this for so long. 

BC Human Rights Code updated to include Indigenous Identity

With November's Bill 18, the BC government updated the BC Human Rights Code to include Indigenous Identity as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination. The sections of the BC Human Rights Code that are the most relevant to K-12 education are Sections 7 and 8 - the former of which deals with discriminatory publications, and the later which deals with discrimination in accommodation, service, and facility. "Indigenous Identity" will be added at the beginning of the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination that you'll see there currently beginning with "race."

School districts around the province will have to take pro-active steps to implement this change. You may want to ask your local about how it is going work with your school district with implementation so that everyone in the district understands their rights and obligations under this change. 

At the school level, you are encouraged to put this on your Staff Committee agenda to talk about what this means at your school. And, please make sure that your school updates its Code of Conduct, which is required by Ministerial Order 276/07 to include all of the prohibited grounds of discrimination listed in the BC Human Rights Code. 

As of now, that list is as follows: "Indigenous identity, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age of that person or that group or class of persons."
 

Rethinking use of "Six Cedars"

Carolyn Roberts, faculty lecturer at SFU, writes about cultural appropriation and the commonly-used resource called "Six Cedars," which is does not have Indigenous authorship.

"Indigenous people should be the only people telling the stories of Indigenous people," Carolyn Roberts writes. "No one has the right to tell our stories, or profit off of our traditions and culture. Canada has spent the past 150 plus years telling the stories of Indigenous people, these stories have not told the truth about us, this is why it is critically important that space is made and saved for Indigenous voices to tell our stories, tell our truths, and be the ones to control the narrative of our cultures, our traditions, and our people."

Check out the full essay here

What is the Model Minority Myth?

AOEC Executive Committee member Karine Ng (in her capacity as an organizer with the BC chapter of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance) is interviewed in Chatelaine magazine here

“I think up until recently, the only representation [in pop culture] we had of Asian people were the nerdy math whizzes,” says Karine Ng. “It really erases the experiences and the very real condition of these working class people, especially women who are toiling away and don’t have that mobility.”

FEATURED VIDEO: DR. CINDY BLACKSTOCK
Check out this incredible 40-minute presentation from Dr. Cindy Blackstock. Principled, committed, relentless, and not afraid to take on all levels of government, Cindy Blackstock has presented several times at BCTF events, and her message is worth hearing by every teacher working in public schools across Canada.  Her talk in the YouTube video below was hosted by UBC's Faculty of Education last month.  

A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Cindy Blackstock serves as the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and is a professor at McGill University’s School of Social Work. She has over 30 years of experience working in child welfare and Indigenous children’s rights and has published on topics relating to reconciliation, Indigenous theory, First Nations child welfare and human rights. Cindy worked with First Nations colleagues on a successful human rights challenge to Canada’s inequitable provision of child and family services and failure to implement Jordan’s Principle. This hard-fought litigation has resulted in hundreds of thousands of services being provided to First Nations children, youth and families.
 

The SOGI UBC Transformative Education Speaker Series Presents:

Dr. Megan Scribe

January 25, 2022 | 4:00 – 5:00 pm PST

This lecture meets Indigenous girls situated at the intersection of gender-based violence and targeted attacks on Indigenous children, two eliminatory strategies that subtend Canadian settler colonialism. Indigenous girlhood is foregrounded with the recognition that the Canadian state has access to Indigenous girls in a way it does not once these girls become adults. Participants are called to bear witness to harmful social policies and practices targeting Indigenous girls and how this violence is subsequently narrated in legal and literary accounts.  This lecture insists that in order to address settler colonialism, we must foreground Indigenous girlhood and critically examine how we talk about Indigenous girlhood and state violence.

Please note, this is a virtual event and there will be live ASL interpretation.

Register Here.

INTERVIEW: MOHAMMED EL-KURD 
George Abraham talks with Mohammed El-Kurd in an expansive interview here about Jerusalem, the revolutionary potential of poetry, and El-Kurd's groundbreaking new book, Rifqa.
 
RESOURCES 
The AOEC website has a new look and lots of new content. The "Resources" section of our website has lots for you to explore - including many practical materials for you to use in your classroom, or to inspire you, or both! Have a look here
This year, AOEC had the honour to collaborate and contribute to the development of the Challenging Racist BC curriculum. Executive members reviewed this rich resource and provided key questions to help guide teachers and students to reflect and delve into the difficult conversations about BC's complicity in its racist laws, policies, and the legacy that lives on today.

Read More 

This year marks 150 years (1871-2021) since BC joined Canada. 150 Years and Counting (150YC) is a new open-access, multi-media resource that documents how this recent cycle of anti-racist activism is part of a broader history of Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities challenging white supremacy for over 150 years – particularly since 1871 when BC joined Canada. Co-authored by activists & scholars from diverse communities, this resource, which includes an 80-page illustrated booklet, an Enhanced Digital Edition, a 'Teachers' Corner' webpage, and a 3-part video series, will assist anti-racist educators, teachers, scholars, and policymakers in piercing the silences that too often have let racism fester in communities, corporations, and governments. All of these resources and more can be found on our website https://challengeracistbc.ca/ 
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