To my fellow Calgarians,
My name is Courtney Walcott. I am a public high school teacher in Calgary. In collaboration with the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF), we started a petition on June 19, 2020, to ask the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) to create an Anti-Racism Task Force. In just a few days, we amassed over 7,000 signatures. The petition was featured on CBC News, Global News, Red FM and others. The success of this petition is due, in no small part, to the efforts and commitment of CCMF. They continue to strive for change in the education system through anti-racism work.
CCMF released a study last year that illustrated Alberta teachers’ awareness of racism in their schools and the lack of tools to address it in their classrooms. Teachers indicated that they were fundamentally unprepared to create an inclusive curriculum due to a shortage of available resources.
Six days after we released the petition, the CBE committed to doing the work necessary to create an equitable and anti-racist environment in schools, and created a Collaboration for Anti-Racism and Equity Support Advisory Council (CBE C.A.R.E.S.). This is a great first step — as long as the commitment is followed with action. And the teachers, students, parents and citizens who signed the petition have demanded that action in the form of accountable, data-driven and immediate change.
While every call to action in our petition has not yet been satisfied — race-based data collection is required to effectively analyze and address systemic racism in our institutions — we have faith that the CBE will follow through on their promise to stakeholders.
Thank you to everyone for adding their voice to this cause by signing and sharing the petition. While the petition is officially closing, we will continue to hold our institutions accountable for dismantling systemic racism.
If you would like to get involved, the City of Calgary is holding a public forum on systemic racism on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 9:30 a.m., thanks to the hard work and determination of CCMF. Please share this information with your family and friends who have experienced racism so we can ensure their voices are heard and appropriate policy changes can be recommended. Follow CCMF on social media for further details on how you or your loved ones can participate:
Courtney Walcott and the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation