Racism creates a ripple effect of exceedingly detrimental impacts to individuals, communities, and the collective wellbeing of any given geographical or social region as a whole. Though all who experience racism are subject its negative and harmful effects, children are especially vulnerable to the consequences. As educators, it’s important to acknowledge that the events of our society, past and present, impact the practice and activities of our classrooms. Students are coming in with knowledge and experiences that are rooted in real life, and teachers must be reflective and responsive enough to create space for this knowledge and these experiences to be valued as learning. As worldwide conversations and actions are taking place to eliminate systemic racism, how can we not step back and reflect on teaching and instruction?
In celebration of the completion of our anti-racist education hub for K-12 teachers, Culture Commons, we are hosting an important dialogue about creating anti-racist schools. Join us on Monday, January 17, 6PM MST, as we speak to anti-racist educators involved in this active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes. This event will take place online via Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Twitter Live. There will also be a livestream on our website (canadiancmf.com) available above.
Michelle Casten Magbanua is an elementary French teacher at Rocky View School Division with a Bachelor's degree in both Drama and Education. She believes that the role of education is to empower the youth, using her quirky and personable teaching style to instill a sense of open-mindedness and growth in her students. Michelle seeks to dismantle oppressive systems and create an anti-racist school system through the power of education.
Dr. Sonia Aujla-Bhullar is a scholar, researcher, and educator with a PhD in Curriculum and Learning. As a public-school teacher and published author, Dr. Aujla-Bhullar has studied and researched the unique aspects and challenges of inclusion and diversity within Canada through understandings of post-colonial and critical race theory in education. Her past and present work focuses on anti-racism as an institutional practice and applications of diversity, inclusion, and equity between schools and racialized communities.
Courtney Walcott was elected Councillor for Ward 8 in Calgary during October of 2021. Previously, he was a teacher and basketball coach at Western Canada High School and a community organizer who worked on numerous anti-racism initiatives within education, including with our organization as a volunteer.
Chantal Chagnon is a Cree Métis Singer, Drummer, Artist, Storyteller, Actor, Educator, Facilitator, Social Justice Advocate and Activist with roots in Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. She shares Traditional Indigenous Songs, Stories, Culture, History, Arts, Crafts and Teachings and has presented in numerous classrooms from preschool through university. Chantal is passionate about building awareness and sharing understanding of Indigenous culture, spirituality, social justice and political issues.
The Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF) is an award-winning not-for-profit organization run by committed volunteer Millennials and Gen Z. We work to improve race relations in Canada by creating cultural understanding through education, technology and arts. Culture Commons is our newly created resource hub for K-12 teachers disrupting systematic racism, by promoting an anti-racist, multicultural, equity and inclusivity based lens in education within Alberta classrooms. (culturecommons.ca)
A first-of-its-kind online hub of no-cost educational resources promoting anti-racism in Alberta K-12 classrooms, created by the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF), launched September 14, 2021.
Culture Commons offers thousands of lessons, activities and tools that teachers can use to incorporate anti-racism education directly into their teaching plans. Resources are available for all core K-12 subjects and options, and are linked to current Alberta curriculum outcomes. Culture Commons is piloting in Alberta with plans to expand country-wide.
“Culture Commons empowers educators to teach about anti-racism and multiculturalism within their existing lesson plans through thousands of free resources that represent numerous cultures and ethnicities,” says Iman Bukhari, Founder and CEO of CCMF. “When students see themselves reflected in the course material, it helps to break down racist stereotypes while building a worldview that is more inclusive and equitable. We are calling on all provincial and the federal governments to help make this service available Canada-wide.”
Culture Commons was created in response to CCMF’s research paper, Long Way To Go, which found that limitations in time, funding, accessibility and knowledge were some of the top challenges for teachers in teaching about multiculturalism or anti-racism. This is why Culture Commons was created to be free-of-charge with easy-to-use navigation and accessibility features, such as enabling the use of screen readers.
“I used several resources about immigration from Culture Commons that were very meaningful and relatable for my class. It led to a great discussion and the stories paved a way to let students share and connect their own unique cultural experiences,” said Nikka Peredo, an elementary school teacher in Calgary.
As Culture Commons’ library of resources continues to grow, CCMF is linking these resources to curricula country-wide over the next five years. Furthermore, CCMF will also be launching a free, online, six-week training course on anti-racism in 2022.
For more information on Culture Commons, visit culturecommons.ca
For media inquiries, please contact us.
About Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation:
The Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF) is an award-winning not-for-profit organization run by committed volunteer Millennials and Gen Z. We work to improve race relations in Canada by creating cultural understanding through education, technology and arts. Being on the forefront of advocacy our foundation often works with ethnic communities on programming. various intersecting identities and racial backgrounds, all whom are volunteers. For more information, please visit canadianculturalmosaicfoundation.com.
Over the past year and a half, our awesome team member Courtney Walcott has spent countless hours volunteering on our team to help our educational anti-racist initiatives. He is now running for council in Ward 8 in Calgary. We asked him four questions about himself, his vision and how he will help build an anti-racist Calgary.
Check him out at http://courtneywalcott.com/
After the disturbing yet sadly obvious news about the remains of 215 innocent Indigenous children's bodies found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, here is a letter template addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau, that everyone can use asking his government to commit to action. Please add your information and send it to his office. Help us flood his mailbox in order to hold our government accountable. We encourage you to mail a letter in, but if that is not possible you can send via email: email@example.com.
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
To Prime Minister Trudeau,
The discovery of the bodies of 215 innocent Indigenous children in a mass grave at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is physical evidence of the genocide committed by the Canadian Federal Government against the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. This is the time for action and justice, no more empty platitudes and apologies without change. Justice must be served for these 215 innocent children and the countless other lives taken by the deliberate actions of the Canadian Government and Churches. The Federal Government of Canada has known of these atrocities not only through the work of Truth and Reconciliation, but because you have legislated and funded the institutions. It is the responsibility of this government to ensure the harm committed is amended. I am calling on the Canadian Federal Government to act now.
We call on you, the leader of the Canadian Federal Government, to publicly commit to the following:
The Government of Canada can no longer deny the crimes of genocide committed against Indigenous Peoples. There can be no reconciliation without truth and action or it continues to be an injustice.
Please do the right thing.
Help us promote the good work of the Change Langevin School committee focused on changing the name of the Bridgeland Science School in Calgary from Langevin, the residential school architect.
We are asking the Calgary Board of Education to immediately rename the “Langevin Science School” to the “Bridgeland-Riverside Science School” as a tangible step consistent with the commitment made in 2021 to “advance equity, anti-racism and inclusion” by the CBE CARES committee. As described in existing policy documents, we also ask the CBE to convene a School Naming Committee and select a permanent name for this school consistent with the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, and to do so in a manner that truly reflects the importance of honourable Nation-to-Nation dialogue.
We believe the current name is inappropriate because Hector-Louis Langevin was a vocal proponent of colonial, assimilationist and genocidal policies towards Indigenous peoples. As a cabinet minister he said the following words, which continue to cause harm today:
“The fact is if you wish to educate these children you must first separate them from their parents during the time that they are being educated. If you leave them in the family they may know how to read and write, but they still remains savages, whereas by separating them in the way proposed, they acquire the habits and tastes – it is to be hoped only the good tastes – of civilized people.”
He did not view Indigenous people as equals, and lead the implementation of racist policies at several levels including the establishment of the first Industrial Schools, the imposition of misogynistic non-traditional Band Council governance styles, and the creation of “Indigenous Status” definitions decided by the colonial government.[2,3]
We believe expecting Indigenous students to walk into a school whose name honours a man who did such harm to their people is fundamentally inconsistent with the CBE’s responsibility to “provide safe and positive learning conditions […] that foster a sense of belonging and a respect for diversity”. Honouring Langevin does not support Reconciliation. His name is inextricably linked to decades of intergenerational trauma which continues to affect Indigenous students, families and Canadian society as a whole.
Non-Indigenous students are also failed by an educational system that refuses to acknowledge the whole truth of our history. A name change which honours the spirit and content of the Calls to Action contained in the Final Report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission is necessary to ensure the CBE's core belief that “public education serves the common good”.
We note that many distinct governments from across the country have recognized the importance of removing Langevin’s name from various landmarks since at least 2017. Calgary City Council’s chose to re-name the Reconciliation bridge (formerly Langevin bridge). The Office of the Prime Minister changed the name of their offices, which were formerly known as the Langevin Block. Ottawa City Council renamed Langevin road after Algonquin elder William Commanda, who served as Chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.
In this time of Reconciliation, we should be working together in a Nation-to-Nation way. Accordingly, and as required by CBE Governance policy, we expect the School Renaming Committee to engage in meaningful, transparent dialogue with all community stakeholders. We ask that Committee membership include representatives of the Niitsitapi Nations (Blackfoot), Tsuut’ina Nation, Nakoda (Stoney) Nations and Métis.
What does online accountability look and feel like? Go beyond the image and the doom scrolling to consider what it means to be accountable for racialized spaces online.
Friday, May 7, we’re presenting another conversation online, that will be looking at just that - online conversations.
We’re gathering and hosting online more than ever, the ways in which we treat each other, express ourselves are being seen by the masses. In an effort to build uplifting communities in online spaces for racialized communities are we doing enough? Are we all conscious of what we share, type and say on online spaces - probably not. When we’re not, how do we remain accountable and authentic to the racialized voices we’re trying to uplift.
This conversation is for organizations, individuals, allies and anyone who is interested in curating an authentic online presence that demonstrates your actions towards racial equity.
The conversation will be looking at various platforms, mediums and action or inaction where we can take better care of one another online.
Topics of discussion:
The topics for discussion will help participants learn what accountability can feel like, create a community of care and how to centre the needs of racialized communities. Join us as we navigate the online space together and identify how we can become more accountable to make the change offline!
This event will be hosted by CommunityWise on Facebook Live and will be accessible by email for participants the afternoon of May 7, 2021.
BLAC wants to give an applause to those who are partnering with us for the conversation:
Woezo Africa, bahaghari, Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, CommunityWise, Calgary Foundation, ActionDignity, ACCT Foundation, Act2ENDRacism, Canadian Red Cross, Shades of Humanity, forEquity
The Calgary Police Service (CPS) would like to hear more from you on the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program! School Resource Officers (SROs) are law enforcement officers with the Calgary Police Service who are placed in elementary and secondary schools. You are invited to contribute your thoughts on the SRO program.
Students and young people can:
Parents and Guardians can:
- Join this webinar on Wednesday April 28 at 6pm MST https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IxcBiZ7VT1ak_zxaSR-Sjg
- Submit your thoughts through email by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Teachers and School Staff can:
- Join this webinar on Thursday April 29 at 6pm MST https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_o2bJhg1VQsyE8_GGjOr12A
- Submit your thoughts through email by writing to email@example.com
Your participation is important to helping to understand if the SRO program meets the needs of students and community. If you have any questions or concerns about participating, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our members love working with ethnic communities on youth programming! In partnership with Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association (PCCA) and many others across Canada, we are proud to host the first ever Pakistani Canadian Youth Cultural Program online during the summer of 2021. We will be holding 13 different sessions for Pakistani youth across Canada to join and learn about their ethnic heritage to help build knowledge, pride and personal skills. This program is ideal for ages 12 – 30 and will be taught in a fusion of both English and Urdu. This program will not be political nor religious, as our aim is to be as inclusive as possible to all Pakistani youth.
Date: Every Friday for up to two hours from June to August 2021
Time: 5PM PST / 6PM MST / 7PM CST / 8PM EST
Online: Register here. Meeting will take place through zoom. We have limited spots available, we encourage everyone to sign up as early as possible. We encourage all participants to attend all sessions. These sessions will not be available on any other platform other than Zoom.
Cost: This program is free, but registration is required.
This program is made possible thanks to a small fund by The Genesis Centre in Calgary. Thank you!
Organizers of an Anti-Racism Arts Festival say a recent cyber-attack on the event discussing race is highlighting the urgent need for anti-racism work.
On March 20, at the 2021 Anti-Racism Arts Festival, facilitated by the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS) and created by the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF), had one of the Zoom festival events hijacked with anti-Black, incredibly horrific racist comments, inciting the multiple use of the racist term, the N-word, that was directed to the panelist Wunmi Idowu.
“As a panelist, I was not given the opportunity to share my story but the incident that followed spoke for me and highlighted the struggles of Anti-Black racism in Canada. What happened on Saturday highlighted the fact that there is a growing problem with Anti-Black racism in our community that needs to be addressed. It’s a global issue and people who live in Canada are affected by it everyday,” said Wunmi Idowu, panelist and Founder & Director of Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc.
This disturbing incident is an example of why anti-racism work is needed and a continued process.
“This violent event of anti-Black racism exemplifies just how much more vulnerable the Black community members are to hate, ignorance and divisiveness when they are working in the very field meant to protect them. Wunmi, or any other community member, does not deserve this. There is a need for change,” said Iman Bukhari, CEO and Founder of Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation.
The incident is being referred to as a "Zoom-bombing," a term used when people take over digital meetings and cause mayhem or post disturbing content. This incident also speaks to the magnitude of cyberbullying, and how systemic these concerns are as there is little accountability from multi-billion companies such as Zoom.
According to ADL, it has been reported that more than 30 virtual events celebrating Black History Month and anti-racism events have been disrupted by racist attacks.
Racist incidents during events online have become more pervasive, often even when organizers do what they can to put precautionary measures in place. "This was a violent, disruptive and traumatic event," said Jennifer Fowler, co-coordinator and Executive Director of the CVIMS. “I hope that others can learn from our experience, and many others who have experienced this. It is unfortunate that when planning anti-racism events, this is now something that organizers and facilitator’s need to be more prepared for.”
The organizers condemn this incident, are putting in more safety measures for future events, and are investigating with law enforcement and Zoom.
For more information contact:
Wunmi Idowu (she/her)
Founder & Director
Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc.
Iman Bukhari (she/her)
CEO & Founder
Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF)
Jennifer Fowler (she/her)
Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society
Use our contact form to connect with the folks above.
More hate-filled incidents over the weekend in Alberta, all happening in broad daylight. It’s a concerning trend for the province, one that has some experts warning Alberta is developing a racist reputation. And if some people can’t feel safe walking down the street, could it drive them away altogether?
“People are leaving this province for a reason,” said Iman Bukhari, the CEO of the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation. “People don’t want to come to this province, in particular, minority groups won’t want to come as they hear more and more about this.”