Our hearts are heavy following the distressing incident of the deadly anti-Black racism in Buffalo, New York, that resulted in 10 people murdered and three more wounded. The individual who committed this heinous act did so fueled by anti-Black and antisemitic hate. This incident and other incidents of anti-Black racism have a deep and profound effect on members of York Region District School Board particularly on Black students, staff and community members.
While this incident occurred in the United States, we know that anti-Black racism and hate in many forms exists in Canada and our province. YRDSB data also shows that incidents of anti-Black racism are occuring in our schools at an alarming rate. As such, we must continue to explicitly address anti-Black racism as a Board. York Region District School Board continues to be resolute in its stand against anti-Black racism and all forms of hate and oppression. We are fully committed to implementing our Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy. We are also supporting the success and well-being of Black Students with the Centre for Black Student Excellence, and programs such as Rise Brothers and Graduation Coaches for Black Students.
York Region District School Board will always confront anti-Black racism and racial violence whenever it occurs.
As a Board, we are fortunate to nurture strong partnerships with Black-affirming community organizations such as the Alliance of Educators for Black Students (AEBS), an affinity group that is committed to combating anti-Black racism and improving the educational trajectory for Black students. We stand in solidarity and partnership with them.
Our focus will be on ensuring that students who are affected by this news have support. Please contact your child’s school directly if you would like to access support during this time. The school will work to connect you with a member of the Social Work or Psychology department or a member of the Community Care Team, supporting African Canadian Caribbean students.
Identity Specific Support from community resources is available from the following agencies:
Black Youth Helpline: 1-833-294-8650
Taibu Community Health Centre: 416-644-3536
Tropicana Community Services: 416-439-9009
Naseeha: 1 -866-627-3342
Black Health Alliance firstname.lastname@example.org
At sad, frustrating and tragic times like these, it is more important than ever for us to unite in our humanity. We must name this act as a shockingly murderous result of hate and anti-Black racism. We must also find ways to support each other, wrapping care and kindness around those in need. As a Board, we also commit to continue working to increase the racial literacy of our staff, and all those who are a part of our school community, providing tools and resources to create Black-affirming and anti-racist learning and working environments. This is in tandem with the continued use of our protocol for addressing incidents of hate and discrimination, and incorporating tools such as Report It!.
Louise Sirisko, Director
Allan Tam, Chair