THE Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and Toronto District School Board (TDSB) have partnered to develop “Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators,” a resource to empower educators to take action against anti-Asian racism.
“At the TDSB, we proudly serve the most diverse population of students and families in Canada. Within our schools, we also experience and witness the harmful ways that world events can influence acts of racism, hate and discrimination on an individual level,” said TDSB Director of Education Karen Falconer. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in racist attitudes and behaviors towards Asians and people of Asian descent here in Toronto, as it has across our country and internationally. Acts of anti-Asian discrimination are unacceptable and cause harm to the health, well-being and safety of educators, students, families and communities. This much-needed resource offers new approaches to learning and innovative actions to identify, name and address anti-Asian racism in partnership with families and communities.”
“This timely and important resource aims to offer an urgent response to racism that has been accentuated during the global pandemic,” said Sam Hammond, President of ETFO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to violence and overt forms of discrimination that continue to impact some of Ontario’s racialized and marginalized communities. This innovative project demonstrates the strength of working together to develop a significant tool that supports the professional learning of educators as they offer high-quality learning in public schools.”
Anti-Asian violence has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Since then, both ETFO and TDSB have heard from educators, students and the community about their experiences confronting anti-Asian racism and its impact on the mental health, well-being and safety of educators, students, families and communities.
“Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators” provides a foundation for reflection, discussion and social justice action, and centres Indigeneity and Black lives within the document. It also solidifies the work of anti-racism as a practice and approach through understanding, interconnecting and allying multiple identities and issues.
This resource was created by a team of educators of Asian descent whose lived experiences, both personal and professional, and knowledge and passion for social justice are reflected in its pages. The resource includes: conceptual frameworks, knowledge and issues; a toolkit for school leaders and educators; and community resources and relevant policies.
“This resource will provide important tools as we build capacity among school and central staff to identify and address anti-Asian racism. At the TDSB, we are committed to creating, maintaining and promoting a school system that is free from discrimination and which is safe and respectful for all,” said Falconer.
“The anti-Asian discrimination resurfacing today has deep historical, colonial roots in this country and this is an urgent time to ensure we end this troubled history of racism,” said Hammond. “At the same time, we must recognize that to enrich students’ knowledge and understanding of Canadian history, we must go beyond the curriculum to also affirm and value Black and Indigenous Peoples’ lives.”
To launch the resource, ETFO and TDSB will host “Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in Schools and Communities,” an online event, held this evening (February 9), from 5 to 6:30 p.m. This happens at an opportune time to both acknowledge and celebrate Black History Month, and to highlight Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese New Year on February 12.
“This launch serves as a way to highlight the solidarity of anti-racist initiatives and recognizes the need to both understand and contextualize the fight against colonialism and racism across racial and cultural lines,” said Falconer. “In all our work, we acknowledge that we are on Indigenous lands, and we recognize and honour our roles and responsibilities in relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”
The online event will feature the following panelists and include an opportunity for participants to ask questions:
- Gen Ling Chan, Deputy Executive Director of ALPHA Education, will provide the historical and current context of anti-Asian racism
- Vidya Shah, Assistant Professor at York University, will speak to lateral violence, centering of Black and Indigenous voices, complicity, and allyship
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. It serves more than 240,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto.
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at BuildingBetterSchools.ca.