Forty Campbell River educators gathered at libraries and learning centers this school year to discuss better ways to introduce issues of racism and prejudice to their students.
The Anti-Racism Learning Group was started by Rachel Friedrich, Gillian Kirke and a group of educators from École Phoenix Middle School in September.
“We were having a conversation about anti-racism and felt we had a responsibility to learn,” said Kirke, who is the Indigenous Education Resource Coordinator for School District 72.
Many incidents over the past two years have brought conversations about racial disparities to the forefront, and Kirke said local teachers are looking for ways to approach these topics in their classrooms with some sensitivity.
The group uses the book Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide to Achieving Equity in Schools and Beyond by Glenn E. Singleton as a frame.
“It asks a lot of really good questions,” Kirke said. “It makes us think about our own personal biases and how we come to have our beliefs.”
She noted that group members also emailed additional resources between sessions, which enriched the discourse.
While Kirke, Firedirch, and Kash Ward facilitate discussion, Kirke clarifies that meetings are in no way conferences.
“The three of us don’t teach anyone. We are also learning… We are all learning together,” she said.
“We want it to be a safe space to have those uncomfortable conversations.”