Cancellation of Islamic Heritage Month Launch Event

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Dear community members, 

With regret, yesterday’s Alliance of Educators for Muslim Students’ (AEMS) Islamic Heritage Month Launch event was cancelled. Sadly, we understand that the event was not a safe space for all as some of the speakers received specific threats in regards to their attendance and participation. YRDSB supported the event, and fully supports AEMS’ decision to cancel the event in order to safeguard the safety and well-being of presenters, staff, students and families.  

While we are disappointed that this event did not proceed as planned, we also recognize that Muslim and Palestinian identifying students are feeling vulnerable in the wake of responses to global events. York Region District School Board is committed to creating environments that are safe, welcoming and inclusive for all students and staff members in our Board. 

We remain committed to implementing the ongoing work of anti-oppression for all staff, students and families, including those who identify as Muslim and Palestinian. This work is founded on our strategic priority of championing Equity and Inclusivity and the goal of creating inclusive, equitable and identity-affirming learning and working spaces in YRDSB. 

Yesterday, we released a public statement reiterating our commitment to work to create safe, welcoming and inclusive learning and working environments, and specifically addressing the growing concern for the potential of hate, including anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic hate. Any one incident of hate is too many and we commit to work more equitably with NCCM and other community partners  to ensure our schools and workplaces remain places of safety and belonging for all students, staff and families. More information will become available in the future as we undertake this work. We continue to encourage students, families to report incidents of hate, bullying or other concerns to the school or through Report It, and to remind staff members to be vigilant and of the requirement to adhere to our protocol for addressing incidents of hate and discrimination

Islamic Heritage Month is an important recognition of Muslim identities in society, Canada, here in York Region and beyond, while also addressing hate in all forms, including Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate. We are incredibly proud of the YRDSB  Muslim staff, students, community members and community partners and look forward to celebrating the  Muslim communities of York Region in the near future.