Inclusion and Anti-Racism

We are all affected by the vocal resurgence of hate groups around the world, and the systemic racism, sexism, and ableism that persists in our structures. 

We also recognize that bias and bigotry can be combined to create larger injustices for some in our society. Just as we must recognize that violence based on gender or sexual identity continues, we must also recognize that the pain can be intensified through racial bigotry as well. The combination of sexism and racism is especially apparent in health and wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous women: discrimination and the threat of violence are felt in policing, our judicial system, in our homes – and in our classrooms.

Educators know this: that’s why addressing racism and promoting anti-racist strategies is one of our federation's goals. 

There are a vast number of ways to make a difference and be part of making safe, inclusive workplaces and communities. Here are just a few things you can do at the individual and collective level to make your classroom, campus, and community a safer space for all:

  • Look at your curriculum: are you including works or reference to female academics, including female academics with disabilities, or female academics of colour? This is especially important if you do not identify within these groups, as promoting these academics tends to disproportionately fall to those who are themselves experiencing oppression and violence. Check out Whose Land is it Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization (free e-book).
  • Do your female and/or non-binary colleagues, and/or colleagues of colour feel supported and safe in their work? How diverse are the faculty, operational staff, and management?
  • If you are a member of an FPSE local, join an FPSE committee.
  • Finally – make support for anti-racism and anti-discrimination part of your daily routine. If you do not see a gender or racialized group represented in the governance structures around you, ask why. You may be able to identify and help remove, a barrier that is allowing inequality to persist.

These positive measures are welcome additions to the actions taken by the BC government in its February budget: eliminating interest on BC student loans, continuing to fund Adult Basic Education, and increasing funding for more seats in early childhood education and technology. Since then, the government has added to their actions on affordability by launching TogetherBC, BC’s first poverty reduction plan. This announcement is the exciting result of years of advocacy led by the Poverty Reduction Coalition, which we're proud to be a part of.

Together, these budgets show the effectiveness of our calls to make post-secondary education more affordable and the areas where we need to continue to press for change. 

With 80 per cent of future jobs predicted to require some level of post-secondary training, affordable, accessible education at our colleges, institutes and universities has never been more important. But affordability for students is just part of a post-secondary future we can be proud of. We also need to pay educators fairly and end the practice of paying contract academic staff far less than their colleagues. Read more about what our federation is doing on this issue in the Georgia Straight here.

A fair, affordable, accessible, post-secondary system will only be possible through strong public funding. Despite the evidence showing that only the richest are paying higher provincial taxes, the government continues to be pressured to cut taxes, imposing more financial hardship on our public services, from post-secondary to health care. I encourage you to read and share Reality check: Only BC’s very richest paying higher tax rate to see how most workers and families are paying less tax now than two years ago.

These are the challenges that remain before us as we look ahead to how to improve working conditions for educators and workers and reduce the financial burden of education for students. Here’s how you can help:

Better conditions for workers
Show your support for improvements to the Employment Standards Act

Affordability for students
Join the BC Federation of Students’ Knock Out Interest Campaign

Dignity and Respect for Everyone
Write to Minister Simpson thanking him for the Poverty Reduction Plan

In solidarity,
George Davison

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