Page 1

NEWSLETTER IN THIS ISSUE Teachers for Climate Justice


Lesson Idea: Create a climate change metaphor 2

Teachers for Climate Justice

Kinship Care Families: Who are they? What do they want? 3

by Michael Rosen, Vancouver secondary teacher

Welfare Food Challenge by Raise the Rates 4


Welfare Food Challenge


Failing at CBC Food Bank Day


Why Wear a White Poppy?


Introducing “Searching for Home: Nasrin’s Journey” 8 What I’ve learned about Israel and Palestine 11 The Arts as Tools for Peace


Telling Tales to Create Allies


#MeToo: What can Teachers do?


Red Card for Racism Campaign


Leaders lobbying for health and safety on International Women’s Day 2018


Education International World Women’s Conference 2018


The reality is...


Youth at Risk: The impact of the closing of Iron Horse Safe House in Maple Ridge 25 Windermere Secondary School Housing Justice Conference


‘Mimkwamlis and The Cultural Sharing Project


Eliminating Stereotypes and Reducing Mental Health Stigma 31 A glimpse into Social Justice 12 classrooms 32 Grants, Funds, and Awards


CASJ 35 Climate Change: What we stand to lose 36

don’t remember too much of what my French Immersion Communications teacher said during the five years that he taught me, but I do remember the time he told us that he had been to the protests at Clayquot Sound. There was no serious lesson on it or a debate, just a little anecdote about going. I also vividly remember the picture in his classroom of an old-growth tree that said “Clayquot Sound.” He was taking action on something that he cared about. I took notice. This past year, hundreds of people have been arrested as part of the movement to stop Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. The pipeline would ship bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands and could lead to seven times more tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet. Thousands of people have been taking action because they are concerned about oil spills, climate change, and the rights of First Nations who oppose the pipeline on their territory. I want to call on teachers to be a part of this movement. The new curriculum suggests that we teach the core competencies of critical thinking and social responsibility. It is important for us to model this in the real world and reflect this in our own actions. In practically every aspect of their regular lives—from Instagram to school hallways—students are bombarded with examples of passivity and cynicism. In contrast, teachers who are actively standing up for causes that they believe in can become islands of inspiration in a sea of apathy, selfcentred ambition, and distraction. Moreover, being involved in this movement means acting and working in solidarity with local First Nations. This is a huge learning opportunity for all of us settler

What we stand to lose with pipelines and tankers

It’s a matter of when not if... For information on Environmental Justice teaching resources, please refer to: Sponsored by the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation PSI17-0123 Composite image, L. Isidoro. Source images: Thinkstock

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation • 100–550 West 6th Avenue • Vancouver, BC V5Z 4P2

teachers who want to work towards reconciliation. Taking action on the issue of climate change is one of the many ways we show care to our students. As older generations are enjoying the fruits of industrialization that caused the climate crisis in the first place, it’s the next generation who will have to deal with the most severe repercussions. We’re amassing climate debts that they’re going to have to pay for. Teachers in BC also know what it’s like to have jobs threatened and lost. As such, we need to demonstrate empathy and solidarity with other workers by advocating for green jobs and supporting oil workers in the transition to a green economy. Prime Minister Trudeau is now talking about investing tax payers’ money to ensure the pipeline gets built. As teachers, this should be particularly concerning to us. Money that could be going to education, healthcare, or the transition to green energy instead is going to be directed towards dirty fossil fuel infrastructure—and this by

a government who solemnly promised to end fossil fuel subsidies!

Want to connect? Find Teachers Against the Pipeline on Facebook, or email

I want to be on the right side of history. Future generations will look back on our inaction towards climate change and say, “How could they have let it go that far?” When my future students ask what I was doing in the battle against climate change, I want to have an answer for them.

At the 2018 Annual General Meeting, Resolution 302 regarding the Kinder Morgan pipeline was passed by the membership. It reads as follows: That in light of the 28 demonstrators arrested this weekend, the Federation encourage all locals to stand in solidarity with Indigenous water and land protectors in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion by lobbying their local politicians and by participating in any protests or actions.

If we have the will, we know it’s feasible to make quick, dramatic shifts to the way the economy functions, much as the US and Canada did during World War II. We need a similar national-scale effort now in order to retool our economy to be far less reliant on fossil fuels and far more equitable and inclusive. It is possible; what is missing is the political will.

Just as teachers are leading the fight against austerity in Puerto Rico, just as American teachers are winning important victories in deeply conservative states such as West Virginia and Arizona, we too can be a crucial catalyst for climate justice here.

Lesson Idea: Create a climate change metaphor by Julie Johnson, CASJ, Environmental Justice Action Group etaphors are powerful tools to convey ideas, information, or concepts.

Try having your students create their own climate change metaphors. 1. Students discuss the issues connected to climate change. 2. They then brainstorm ideas for metaphors that would convey the content of the climate change issue. 3. Metaphors can point out the problem and/or the solution to the problem being addressed. 4. If appropriate, students may create a visual representation of their metaphor.


Example: Draw a picture of the earth encased in a snow globe. Metaphor: The earth is an enclosed biosphere. Whatever is launched into the atmosphere will eventually fall back to earth.

iStock photo


BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

Kinship Care Families: Who are they? What do they want? by Jane Bouey, Parent Support Services Society of BC

“One night, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to discover my two-year-old granddaughter and seven-year-old grandson. The rest was a blur. What I came to learn was that my daughter—their mother—had been found dead. The kids were to stay with me or taken into government care to live with strangers. A social worker told me things, but I couldn’t hear. I was in shock. All I knew was that the kids needed me…and at 70 years old, I was suddenly propelled into being a full-time parent again. I didn’t know what to do, whom I should talk to, or how I was going to manage.” In BC, more than 13,000 children and youth aged 0–14 are being raised by their grandparents or other kin, with no parent in the home. Reasons for this include mental and physical health issues, substance misuse, incarceration, abandonment, child abuse or neglect, violence in the home, and death. The opioid crisis and other socioeconomic factors are leading to growing populations of kinship care families. Without the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, and uncles who have stepped up to the plate, these children would be in government care. Like foster kids, children in kinship care families have often experienced trauma and may have physical, emotional, or behavioural challenges. Many kinship care families struggle with poverty.

These children may be in your class.

This toll-free line (1-855-474-9777) is staffed by two advocates; one is a lawyer, and the other has a master’s in social work. They help caregivers navigate complex legal and social systems, and they refer kinship caregivers to our support circles and kinship family respite camps.

What we hear from kinship care families • These families receive little to no governmental support. The caregivers often feel like the government has downloaded costs onto their shoulders. • Kinship care families are looking for similar benefits as foster families receive. Currently, available benefits are temporary, short term, and difficult to access. • Kinship caregivers need to be able to receive benefits for as long as necessary. • Supports should be available to all kinship families, regardless of their legal status. • These families would like the federal government to allow grandparents on CPP Disability who are raising their grandchildren to continue receiving the children’s benefit after they turn 65. The new provincial government is currently in the process of reviewing the rates paid to kinship caregivers. Every year, PSS marks Grandparents’ Day and shines a spotlight on the challenges faced by grandparents raising grandchildren. Watch for events in your area on Sunday, September 9, 2018: For more information and to view our documentary, go to iStock photo

Teachers likely know which of their students are in care, and they may be sensitive to the trauma that they may have experienced. However, teachers are not always aware of students who are cared for by relatives or family friends, and they may not know about adverse childhood experiences these children may have encountered. The widely recognized benefits of kinship care are maintenance of community and family attachments, stability of cultural identity, a lifetime sense of belonging, minimization of negative impacts, and increased positive outcomes. Parent Support Services (PSS) operates a provincial support line for kinship caregivers.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


Welfare Food Challenge by Raise the Rates by Barb Ryeburn, BCTF Assistant Director of Social Justice


aise the Rates is a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in British Columbia. The group focuses on those in the worst poverty—people living on welfare—by advocating for an increase in welfare rates. They have run the Welfare Food Challenge since 2012. This initiative invites people in British Columbia to live on the amount of money available to a person on welfare for purchasing food for a week. This amount was determined to be $21 in 2017.

Food banks and free meals won’t solve poverty. Poverty is political; it is a policy choice. For more

information, visit the Raise the Rates website and

In their report The Cost of Eating in BC, The Dieticians of Canada point out that the cost of basic healthy food is more than the total amount of money that welfare provides for all basic living costs, including food, personal hygiene, clothes, and transit. BC has one of the highest rates of poverty in Canada. Poverty causes ill-health with higher hospital rates, and people experiencing poverty die 10 years earlier than the general population. Children’s mental and physical development suffers because of poverty, and poverty is degrading to people, causing stress and emotional damage. The cost of poverty in BC is greater than the cost of ending it.


iStock photo

Raise the Rates organizes the Welfare Food Challenge each year so that more and more people can understand the impossible situation that people on welfare face. It’s not about just budgeting better—it is the fact that people are being kept in poverty. If the government really wants to show their commitment to reducing or ending poverty, then they need to raise welfare rates. BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

Welfare Food Challenge by Clint Johnston, 2nd Vice-President, BCTF


ndertaking the 2017 Welfare Food Challenge provided a deep learning experience for me. While the amount of mental energy expended on choosing food and eating during the week was unreal, the hunger was very real. Sitting among people who ate as much as they wanted of whatever they wanted, while I was limited to what I could afford on $21, was mentally difficult. I chose to be part of the challenge knowing that it would not give me a true understanding of what the individuals who routinely live on $21 a week go through but would provide a small glimpse. I still lived in my comfortable house, had access to a fully stocked kitchen, and didn’t have to worry about my electricity or gas bill. In other words, I still existed in privilege. Most participants share common experiences during the week, but we also each have unique experiences that influence our learning. The experience that influenced my challenge was the loss of my hand in an industrial accident at age 23. It helped me to understand the notion of end dates and how a lack of an end date to a particularly trying event can increase the hardship of dealing with the situation in which you find yourself. My focus during the challenge was entirely on navigating the week: what to buy, where to find cheap food, and staying as healthy as possible, but I only had to focus on lasting one week. I had an “end” to this way of living, a day when I would go back to “normal.”

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

The human mind is quite well-adapted to enduring hardship or healing when there is a definite end in sight. When I lost my hand, I realized how poorly our minds are adapted to dealing with trauma (mental or physical) that does not have an end date. I believe that this must be what it is like for the individuals who live with this $21 per week food budget on a long-term basis. There is no end to focus on, no enduring the mental and physical strain until you can go back to “normal.” It requires mental exertion and strength that can’t be underestimated. It is exhausting to constantly be hungry, tired, and thinking about food. As a teacher and parent of five children, I think about the children who live with this lack of access to a basic need. How can a child focus in school with hunger always gnawing at them? How can we expect the same effort and achievement from children who do not have the nutrition to properly enable them to reach their potential? How can we be surprised when they sometimes have difficulty managing their emotions or relationships? I also think of the parents raising their children with this inadequate access to nutritional food. How much stress must you be under when you know what would be best for your children, but it is not possible to give it to them? I can’t imagine it, and I am fortunate that my privilege allows me to not have to. I don’t know if I would have the strength.


Failing at CBC Food Bank Day by Kell Gerlings, Community Organizer, Raise the Rates Campaign


he bright red band-aid-shaped banner that hangs over our heads reads, “Justice Not Charity.” The five of us—activists, advocates, and supporters of Raise the Rates—chant and cheer outside of CBC’s Food Bank Day in support of “Justice Not Charity!” and “Raise the welfare rates now!” Presumably coming for the open house CBC hosted that day in conjunction with their food bank fundraiser, a class of Grade 6 students stands on the sidewalk and watches us, interested. I turn to them and get them chanting with us: “Justice Not Charity!” In a brave move on the part of their teacher, I am asked to tell them a bit about what we are there to do. Teachable moments arise around every corner, on every sidewalk. In a short three minutes, I outline that food banks began as a temporary measure 40 years ago to tide over the increasing number of people in poverty experiencing food insecurity. Yet, coming forward 40 years to the present, the need for food banks and the number of people accessing them every year is on the rise. The question is, “Why?” The short answer is because the government continues to be neglectful, and there has been no substantial change in how poverty is tackled. Instead, there have been many claw-backs of necessary benefits, welfare rates have remained frozen for a decade, and spiralling-out-of-control living costs and rents have made things even worse. I tell the students that we are here to push for a broader awareness and for more than just charity. We need justice. We need a strong, inclusive,


cross-ministerial poverty reduction plan. We need welfare rates to be raised significantly, rent controls, and a higher minimum wage. The students nod along, seemingly capable of grasping that if there are people drowning in a river, you need to not only pull the people out, you must fix the hole in the bridge that put them there in the first place. Food banks may pull some people out of the river, but relying on this generosity will not change legislation and fix the bridge. Charity, in fact, only increases the cycle of dependency and saviourism that keep people in poverty. What we need, on days like CBC’s Food Bank Day, is advocacy. We need a letterwriting station to MLAs. We need loud protests and louder conversations that push the mainstream into understanding causes of poverty and its solutions. That afternoon, I am slated for a three-and-a-half-minute interview on CBC’s live show. I figure if a class of 30 11-year-olds can understand “justice not charity” in three minutes, surely some of the listeners will have lightbulbs go off too. Unfortunately, the producer’s notes say, “Don’t get too political—We don’t have time,” and I am ushered off stage after two minutes. It is not any more “political” for me to state that you won’t end homelessness unless you raise welfare rates than it is to say that the days get shorter in December. It is not a “radical” thought to believe every human deserves a life of dignity, safe and affordable shelter, and the ability to purchase culturally relevant food.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

Why Wear a White Poppy? by Annie Ohana, LA Matheson Secondary teacher, CASJ Antipoverty Action Group member


very year, we at LA Matheson Secondary School participate in the White Poppy Campaign.

To be clear, this campaign doesn’t replace the commemoration of veterans that occurs by wearing a red poppy. What the White Poppy Campaign does is highlight four areas of focus which we do not traditionally consider during Remembrance Day celebrations. These areas of focus, described below, operate within a framework of remembrance and truth-telling with peace at the forefront of our minds. Commemorating veterans has never truly brought about peace, large-scale justice, or economic security. I, along with many of my students from refugee backgrounds, can speak on this from experience.

Four areas of focus of the White Poppy Campaign 1. A culture of peace for veterans includes protecting constitutional rights, addressing the inadequacies of the Veterans Charter, providing adequate mental health services, and allocating sufficient military funds to support military families. Peace for veterans also involves including the voices and stories of veterans from minority and marginalized groups.

4. A culture of peace for alternatives to war involves using dialogue rather than brinksmanship, compromising, acting through humanitarianism, accepting differences, developing strong legal structures for human rights, equity and justice, and addressing the root causes of conflict.

By remembering all of those impacted by war and dedicating ourselves to creating a world characterized by justice and peace, we will no longer have to suffer the indignities of war. At LA Matheson, certain individuals choose to wear both red and white poppies in order to commemorate the sacrifices of veterans and take action towards true justice and peace. Red and white combined makes for a truly formidable force for peace. For more information on the White Poppy Campaign, visit the Peace Poppies website at

iStock photo

2. A culture of peace for victims and refugees involves, among other things, creating a safe harbour, ensuring the right to school for non-status residents, and considering the cost of war on civilian populations.

3. A future of peace for families includes providing partners, spouses, and children with strong financial support, as well as health and wellness services during difficult periods of separation and following the loss of life of a family member employed in the military. Commemoration of soldiers who have lost their lives is a key component of peace for families.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


Introducing “Searching for Home: Nasrin’s Journey” by Shannon Moore and Katherine O’Connor, Peace and Global Education Action Group, CASJ


he term zine refers to any small, self-published work. This particular zine, Searching for Home: Nasrin’s Journey, follows the journey of one Yazidi refugee family and is intended to grant space for curricular conversations around injustice, human rights, and displacement. While this zine looks at a specific and somewhat hopeful example, we recognize that it is not representative of the experiences of many refugees. This was not done to sanitize the experiences of refugees; rather, we hope this will make the zine accessible to a larger demographic and allow educators to choose connecting topics appropriate for their educational environments. For example, a primary teacher might take up the ideas of belonging, refuge, and human rights, whereas intermediate and secondary teachers might explore the specific injustices that lead people to seek refuge. We hope the zine will become an entry point to more complex discussions. Included is an extensive list of lesson ideas for both the elementary and intermediate– secondary levels, as well as specific curricular outcomes in social studies and English language arts that can be addressed through the lesson ideas (based on the new curriculum). These documents will all be available online at Elementary lesson plans (Kindergarten–Grade 5) • This series of lessons focuses on using imagery from the zine or another picture book to explore the themes of displacement, home, and belonging. Based on the essential question, “What is peace?”, these lessons help teachers support their students to build empathy for people who have experiences different from their own. Intermediate and secondary lesson plans (Grades 6–12) • We have created several hooks, read-along activities, project-based learning ideas, and extension activities based on the zine. As stated above, the lesson plans we wrote grant space for a teacher to look at refugee and human rights more generally, or to look more specifically at genocide if they feel it is appropriate for their demographic. The pedagogical ideas within the accompanying materials aim to: -- develop reading skills -- build understanding of political movements and the cultural and historical conditions of peoples who have been displaced by injustice


-- engage critical media and visual literacy skills to analyse how refugees are represented in current online and print sources -- encourage research, writing, and debate skills -- increase understanding of Canada’s refugee policies. Searching for Home: Nasrin’s Journey and the accompanying resources were collaboratively created by Shanee Prasad, Dan Hula, Katherine O’Connor, Deidre Torrence, and Shannon Moore, all of whom are current or past members of the BCTF’s Peace and Global Education Action Group. This was possible thanks to the BC students who shared their personal experiences of coming to Canada as refugees, informing the direction of the story and the kinds of resources created. Illustrations are by Vancouver-based artist Anat Rabkin. Primary, intermediate, and secondary lesson plans to go with this zine can be found on Teach BC here: list?q=&p=1&ps=25&sort=created_dt+desc. BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018



BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

What I’ve learned about Israel and Palestine by Kati Spencer, Peace and Global Education Action Group, CASJ


he 2018 AGM voted to endorse the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, which works to bring awareness regarding the detention and abuse of Palestinian children by the Israeli military. Previously, the Committee for Action on Social Justice had asked that the BCTF endorse the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel. The BCTF Executive Committee, after a lengthy debate, declined the request. Why would the BCTF agree to one action and not the other? It turns out the Israel-Palestine issue is very complicated and fraught with political landmines. My learning curve on the subject has gone into high gear. I know that many people are like me; they feel a little nervous whenever the topic is brought up. We know the issues are important and that people have strong feelings about it, but we do not know enough about it to feel comfortable engaging in a public discussion, much less take positions on the situation. However, as we hear about Palestinian protesters being killed at the Gaza border and the decision of the of the Trump administration to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, learning about the IsraelPalestine conflict is more relevant than ever. Here are some of the questions I have been trying to find answers to in order to gain a deeper understanding of the conflict, people, and land: 1. Who exactly are the Israelis and Palestinians? Easier asked than answered. The easy answer is the Israelis are the Jewish inhabitants and the Palestinians are the Arab inhabitants of the land, now mostly controlled by Israel. 2. Does that mean the Palestinians are Muslim? Is this a religious conflict? Not all, but most Palestinians are Muslim. It isn’t specifically a religious conflict, however. The conflict is over land rights. 3. Is this about who gets the oil fortune? No. There is oil in the Middle East, but this is not so much about oil as it is about a homeland for Jews and Palestinians. After WWII, there were many Jewish refugees in Europe. They had dreamed of returning to their biblical homeland (Zion), which was currently called Palestine and mostly inhabited by Palestinians. The European and American powers supported the creation of a Jewish state after the war. The United Nations passed a resolution in 1948 declaring the

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

existence of the State of Israel on approximately half of the territory known as Palestine and inhabited by mostly Arabs. Needless to say, the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world were not happy about this. War broke out immediately. 4. But didn’t the Jews need a homeland? 6 million had just died in concentration camps. For close to a century, many European Jews had dreamed of having their own nation. That dream was called Zionism. Jews wanted to recreate their homeland in the Middle East, and since so many Jews were refugees after the war, this was an opportune time to press the issue. As well, other nations were not keen to take in Jewish refugees. Anti-Semitism has a long history in Europe. North America was not much better in its attitude toward Jews. 5. What is Anti-Semitism? The dictionary definition is “dislike or hatred for Jews; prejudice against Jews.” Hitler’s “Final Solution” to eradicate Jews from the face of the earth was born out of Anti-Semitism. Jews have been persecuted since the inception of Judaism. The Romans killed Jesus because he was a Jew. Christianity, born out of the belief that Jesus was the son of God, turned on the Jews as well. Europe was a Christian continent, so laws were passed that discriminated against Jews. 6. So, two nations, two peoples, are fighting for what they each believe is their land? Who’s winning? Israel. In the wars of 1948 and 1967, many Palestinians were forced to leave, becoming refugees. Israel now controls most Palestinian regions, such as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The West Bank is a strip of land between Israel and Jordan that has been significantly overtaken by the Israeli state enforced by the Israeli military. The Gaza Strip is a strip of land that borders Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The Gaza Strip is the third most densely populated place in the world, and due to border closures and Israeli sea and air blockages, the population is not free to leave or enter the Gaza Strip, nor allowed to freely import or export goods. This is resulting in food, water, and electricity shortages. Israelis have a blockade around Gaza to stop the flow of weapons to the Palestinians. 7. I can see there are two points of view on the Israel-Palestine situation. Is that why the Executive didn’t support the BDS resolution? BDS is controversial, and the Executive Committee decided it was not appropriate to take this on. However, supporting children’s right to live in a world 11

that is free from military interference meets the BCTF mandate. The AGM motion will bring attention to the abuse and detention Palestinian children face on a daily basis. No Way to Treat a Child campaign Every year, the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes approximately 700 Palestinian children. According to the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, 75% of these children are victims of physical violence after their arrest, and 97% of interrogations of Palestinian children occur in the absence of legal counsel and the children’s parents.


At their February 22–23, 2018 meeting, the BCTF Executive Committee passed the following recommendation: That the BCTF endorse the No Way to Treat a Child campaign. This campaign calls on the Israeli government to stop night arrests, blindfolds and restraints, separation from parents, physical and psychological violence, isolation and coerced confessions, and unlawful transfers of Palestinian children. You can sign the petition on their website here: petition_stop_israeli_military_detention.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

The Arts as Tools for Peace by Aimee Pollard, Trafalgar Elementary, Vancouver

The UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) is made up of almost 8,000 schools in 177 countries that are committed to working together to create a culture of peace, and promote democracy, human rights, solidarity, and mutual understanding. ASPnet is currently accepting applications for membership. To learn more, visit the ASPnet page on the BCTF Peace and Global Education web page. Every year, ASPnet organizes a variety of activities and professional development opportunities for teachers and students from member schools. In February, four teachers from ASPnet member schools were funded to attend the Power of the Arts National Forum in Montreal. Vancouver teacher Aimee Pollard was among these teachers and shares her experience in the following article. It was such an honour to have been able to participate in the Power of the Arts National Forum: The Arts as Tools for Peace. There are rarely opportunities for teachers to attend professional development conferences and workshops at this level, especially those that are not specifically under the umbrella of education. My experiences at the conference were thought-provoking, inspiring, and affirming on both personal and professional levels. The forum opened with an assortment of speeches and performances that set the tone for the broad range of workshops that would follow. Performances ranged from Indigenous throat singers to slam poets and gospel choirs. Presenters included a museum curator, a family medicine doctor, and the director of public relations of an international energy company. The power of the arts to weave its way through all aspects of society was apparent and inspiring. The variety of workshops offered was vast. One of the highlights was a workshop entitled The Arts and

changing, yet art forms like stickers and graffiti have been used for over a century. There are endless possibilities for how these forms of art can be brought into schools to engage children and youth of all ages to share their ideas, knowledge, and truth. These art forms can be simple or complex, yet still powerful and allow for all learners to participate and be engaged. A second highlight was the presentation Postering Peace: The Inclusion of Muslim Communities in the Arts, which was part of a workshop on fighting discrimination. Artist Aquil Virani demonstrated the power of simple images and words to start conversations and encourage questions. The style and message of his project has provided me with several ideas applicable to all grade levels. The videos on Virani’s website are also excellent tools for classroom teachers, and they are available in both English and French. I am so excited to be taking ideas and inspiration back to my classroom, my school, and my community. I have concrete

Democratic Participation. The first presenters were researchers who study street art and graffiti as a form of democratic participation. It was eye-opening to be exposed to forms of art outside of the traditional mediums. Current social movements in response to political situations are evidence that youth are becoming engaged and enraged. The means and mediums of teaching and allowing youth to use their democratic voice are constantly

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


projects that can be used at all levels and for all curricular subject areas to engage learners and


encourage them to continue the conversations and take action. We are in the planning stages of

a Climate Change SoirÊe that we hope to hold in the spring. I am now rethinking how I plan on having my Grade 1 class participate. I think the impact of our knowledge and our message could be more powerful if we incorporate various elements of the arts. A child’s board book that I purchased at the museum gift shop may be the jumping-off point for several classrooms to highlight their learning and engage the community in conversations. It is critical that we arm our children and youth with the tools to encourage and allow for peace within the individual and beyond.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

Telling Tales to Create Allies by Trish Mugford, Status of Women Action Group member, VSTA


any years ago, a fresh, naïve, and optimistic young woman headed off to university thinking that feminism was obsolete. After all, according to Kurt Vonnegut, “The year was [1981 and women were] finally equal.” Maybe a few


Neanderthal males needed a little tweaking, but overall it wasn’t necessary to waste too much energy on the feminist front, as there were so many other more pressing battles to be fought and won. That young woman was me. That young woman was in for a big shock. The shock was Axel, my first-year biology lab partner. I thought he was kind of cute…until he launched what amounted to a full-scale declaration of war on my glib understanding of feminism. He was neither fresh, naïve, nor optimistic, and he was not a woman. Like me, he was young; unlike me, his experiences had given him ample ammunition to blow up my assertion that women had arrived at the finish line of equity. “HOW?” he said in disbelief. “Socially? Economically? Politically?” He paused long enough to let that sink in and then finished me off with a rapid-fire lesson on “privilege”—mine especially. I hadn’t even begun to recover from the shame of disavowing feminism before he calmed down—we had a rat to dissect—and told me some of his story. Luckily for both of us, I was in too much shock to bolt before Axel reached the story part of his lesson. It was pretty harrowing: living with a mother who was suffering from

photo addiction and precariously close to homelessness, lining up at food banks to make sure he and his mother could eat, barely managing to find time to hold a full-time job and still pass his courses, and accepting charity from wherever it was offered, rather than cross that thin line into despair. While many first-year students were living it up, he was struggling to live and support his mother. It was his tale, not his tirade, that lit the feminist flame in me that day. His questions also forced me to acknowledge how little I had thought through my beliefs, how limited my experience was, how broad my assumptions were, and how little I understood my privilege and its limits. It was a big day in my post-secondary education, and it had nothing to do with a rat’s guts.

How do we create and become allies? We do it through stories and questions, through telling and listening, and through seeing the commonalities and embracing the differences. If we stopped assuming and reacting and instead started looking for and telling more stories, and if we started asking and answering more questions, how might that change our own perceptions as well as the perceptions of others? We often neglect to see our allies for what they are. They can appear in the most unlikely and unexpected places. They might be disguised as Axels. They might not even be allies to begin with. Stories make us human, stories connect us, and stories ultimately will make us allies.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


#MeToo: What can teachers do? by Barb Ryeburn, Assistant Director, Social Justice


t the BCTF Winter 2018 Representative Assembly, Local Representatives passed the following motion: #MeToo movement That the Federation: 1. endorse the #MeToo movement and support the courage and conviction of the women and girls who speak out about the sexual abuse, harassment, and assault they have experienced and the many more who silently live with the trauma. 2. encourage all members to speak out against misogyny, sexual harassment, and abuse of power, and to serve as effective and supportive allies for those who are experiencing or have experienced such treatment. 3. call on the provincial government to restore the funding to women’s centres province-wide and support the agencies and collectives that advocate for and support the rights, safety, health, and well-being of all women. 4. call on the federal and provincial government to follow the lead of Iceland in enforcing pay-equity by making it illegal for employers to pay women less than men in the same or equivalent positions. —Winter RA, January 26–27, 2018 Teachers have a key role to play in the creation of a society that is free of sexual harassment and abuse. We can begin by nurturing the development of positive attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls, and by providing students with skills to act as allies for victims. Teachers can also play a vital role in identifying students who may be victims of sexual harassment or abuse and helping them to access the necessary services. To support teachers in these roles, the Committee for Action on Social Justice has developed the Gender-based Violence web pages, which are located under Issues in Education on the BCTF website.

Find links to a variety of lesson plans for students of all ages addressing topics ranging from healthy sexual relationships, consent, sexual rights, sexual harassment, and sexualized and gender-based violence.

This page provides information and resources to help teachers develop an understanding of sexualized and gender-based violence and rape culture, and how to address these issues in the classroom. Links to a variety of classroom resources are also provided.

This page lists BCTF and community-based workshops that provide teachers with strategies and tools to teach about healthy youth relationships. Training opportunities for students are also provided.

Access a list of service providers across the province that offer emergency and ongoing support services for victims of sexual violence.


BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

Red Card for Racism Campaign


he Show Racism the Red Card contest for schools across BC ended on May 15, 2018. A winning entry was chosen for an elementary school and a secondary school submission. The winning submission in the elementary category is from Patricia Patricks’ and Jen Williams’ Grades 1– 3 Montessori classes at Hammond Elementary School in Maple Ridge. Both classes participated in a video with a new version of the Whitecaps theme song. Check out the screen captures to the right. The winning secondary submission was from Ilka Vogt’s Social Justice 12 class at Langley Fundamental Middle and Secondary School. Ms. Vogt’s students submitted posters and a texting video that promoted antiracism. The winning entries are on the next pages.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


Red Card for Racism Campaign

Children’s activity sheet —Diversiteam Superheroes With this activity sheet, we want to encourage younger children in the simplest of ways to be kind to one another. Our use of simple activities allows for understanding of basic values and concepts to be adopted. We have created a team of both relatable and unique characters for the kids to connect with and learn from. Our use of variety in characters allows for support of diversity and sends a message of inclusivity and respect for people who are different than you.

Modern Racism texting video Our goal for this video was to show how racism comes in many forms, and how in this generation people have the opportunity to hide behind a screen.— Vienna, Emily, and Mackenzie


Embrace the beauty of difference! With this poster, we want to emphasize the beauty and appeal of diversity by comparing people to flowers. Different colors and types of flowers make this poster gorgeous, just like how different types of cultures make the world such a wonderful place! —Elif and Arionne

Read the story, not the cover! This poster is to encourage people to get to know each other and to learn each other’s stories, rather than just judging people on their appearances. —Christine

lt shouldn’t matter what colour you are, because every colour matters! The purpose of this poster is to promote antiracism. Every colour or race is equally important, just like every shade of colour in a painting.—Iris 19

Red Card for Racism Campaign

Hate has no home here! The purpose of this poster was to symbolize the differences in what a “conventional home” is, while showcasing that no matter the appearance of the home, hate is not welcome. Utilizing a variety of homes in an arrangement of colours, we want to show inclusiveness, diversity, and acceptance, 0ur slogan is portrayed in the middle of the road, in a yellow font, representing a guideline to how one should live their life similar to how the yellow lines guide cars on the street. Furthermore, we believe this poster efficiently and successfully catches the eye of all individuals and draws their attention towards our slogan promoting the ending of hatred, discrimination, and apathy —Arshia, Curtis, lzzy, Leona, Matt

Lift each other up! and We’re better than that! With these posters, we are aiming to get a positive message across to break the walls of racism and hate. Emphasizing the encouragement of justice, inclusion, love, and equality for all, our campaign boasts hope and unity for a future free of discrimination.—Julia and Jenna

Look for the contest information for the 2018–19 school yearSummer/Fall this fall. 20 BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, 2018

Leaders lobbying for health and safety on International Women’s Day 2018 by Toni Grewal, Burnaby secondary teacher Trish Mugford were also there representing the BCTF. I was there wearing many hats as a member of the BCTF Health and Safety Advisory Committee, the BCFed Health and Safety Standing Committee, and the Canadian Labour Congress National Health and Safety Committee.


nspired! That is how is I felt when I attended the BC Federation of Labour (BCFed) lobby in Victoria on International Women’s Day. I was inspired by all the amazing, passionate activists who continue to fight for the causes and issues that affect all workers, but especially women, in the work force. In total, there were 30 women in attendance who are leaders and representatives from almost a dozen BC labour organizations, such as the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, and the Hospital Employees’ Union. It was a diverse group with representation from Indigenous women, young workers, women of colour, and women from the LGBTQ community. BCTF First Vice-President Teri Mooring and Vancouver teacher and CASJ Status of Women Action Group member

It was a unique moment in political history, as we were meeting with the new NDP (minority) government. We met with Premier John Horgan, Minister Harry Bains (Labour), Minister Melanie Mark (Advanced Education, Skills, and Training), Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity Mitzi Dean, and new MLAs Janet Routledge and Rachna Singh. Hopeful! This is how I felt when we were meeting with MLAs and ministers who were women and who have worked supporting women’s rights and issues. We also met with a few Liberal Party MLAs, who now are the official opposition. Unfortunately, the Green Party MLAs did not meet with us. This means that more work needs to be done to reach out to the Green Party and get them to support the goals of the BCFed lobby. For each issue, there was a backgrounder and specific recommendations. The issues that the lobby focused on were: • sexual violence and harassment in the workplace • sexual assault services for women • improved employment provisions for intimate partner violence leave (previously known as domestic violence leave) • exemptions to the minimum wage for some workers (such as servers, live-in home support workers, and farmworkers).

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

Sexual violence and harassment in the workplace According to the Workers’ Compensation Board, incidents of workplace violence continue to increase. The alarming reality is that we do not actually know the real numbers of incidents. This is because the culture of not reporting is widespread in work sites. Improved employment provisions for intimate partner violence leave British Columbia lags behind Manitoba and Ontario who have already recently enacted legislation for domestic violence leave. Workers in BC have no job security if they need to be absent from their work to deal with issues related to intimate partner violence. Sexual assault services for women Sexual assaults continue to rise in BC and across Canada. A consistent sexual assault policy for hospitals and the police across BC does not exist. Also, girls and women who live outside Metro Vancouver are more limited in terms of access to health services and supports. As a result, this may impact reporting and receiving immediate medical attention. Exemptions to the minimum wage for some workers Many minimum-wage workers are women and women of colour. The BCFed is recommending the elimination of all exemptions to minimum wage and pay equity legislation. It was a day of dialogue, discussion, and direct engagement with labour and government at the same table.


The members of government listened to the powerful and poignant vignettes on women’s mental, emotional, and physical health and safety, and work place experiences were shared. They appreciated ongoing efforts with regards to women’s rights, services, occupational health, and safety.

The ministers and MLAs appeared supportive and acknowledged the intent of our recommendations. I am confident that the BCFed will continue to do this important and impactful work in women’s health and safety. I was optimistic when the lobby concluded, however, I suppose the litmus test will be the

next BCFed lobby in 2020. What policy changes will be in place? What laws will have been passed by the government? What employment provisions will exist for improving the health and safety of all female workers in our province? Source:’s-health-and-safety

Education International World Women’s Conference 2018 by Teri Mooring, 1st Vice President, BCTF

“We don’t live in an equal society because of violence against women and girls, and because of inequity there is violence against women and girls.” —A quote from Education International World Women’s Conference, 2018.


hese words were echoed by a number of participants on the last day of the transformational Education International World Women’s Conference in Morocco. The #MeToo conversation is very much viewed through the lens of one’s experiences in their society and culture. Therefore, having this conversation with women from around the world broadens one’s perspective about the depth and consequence of sexualized violence perpetrated against women and girls, both in the broader societies and also specifically in schools and post-secondary institutions. In Canada, the #MeToo movement is occurring against the backdrop of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, who now number between 1,200 to 4,000 since 1970. Indigenous women are three times more likely to report sexual exploitation and violence than their non-Indigenous counterparts.


Generally, women who identify as being from other equity-seeking groups are even more vulnerable to the various forms of discrimination

and violence. In fact, the #MeToo movement actually began more than a decade ago by black women’s rights activist Tarana Burke. #MeToo was the name of a movement designed to support women of color who had been sexually assaulted and lacked the resources to have their stories told. Women of color often find themselves doubly oppressed

This word cloud was produced by participants at a closing activity at the BCTF Women’s Institute in response to the question, “How are you feeling?” To create similar word clouds with your students, check out the app at BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

by passing a recommendation regarding creating a culture of consent. The recommendation looks at advancing a culture of consent by establishing and supporting the expectation that all Federation meetings, socials, and events be free from inappropriate comments, gestures, and physical contact. This is an important step towards ensuring all members feel welcome and comfortable at union meetings and events.

due to the combination of their ascribed gender and race. The dual nature of their oppression means it is inherently harder for them to seek justice. It was widely recognized at the conference that unions have a key role to play on a number of fronts and a responsibility to act. Unions can enable the conversations regarding harassment and abuse in workplaces and externally in the context of the broader society. Naming the crimes for what they are and not trying to minimize sexual assault, battery, abuse, and harassment through our language was identified as an important first step. Other strategies involve ensuring there are women-only spaces where women are comfortable speaking and being. The diverse needs of women, based on their many roles both personally and professionally, need to be met in order for full participation to be possible. How meetings are run and when they occur determines who is able to attend and participate. Teacher unions can also help to work towards equality and safety for women through economic empowerment, ensuring equal pay for equal work, and creating an environment that enables women to move into leadership positions. The BCTF at the 2018 Annual General Meeting has taken a substantial step forward to support members

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

Another aspect of the recommendation deals with supporting members with strategies and resources to reflect on their own interactions with others to address the responsibility of all of us to prevent unwanted comments or actions. This is important self-reflective work that is needed as we maneuver the often complex and changing social dynamics within our union and our work lives. This work also helps us to be more effective allies. The final aspect of the motion also looks at what the Federation can do to provide strategies and resources that teachers can use in their classrooms to promote a culture of consent with students. In addition to the great resources of the BCTF, we can also look to Alberta for some inspiration regarding classroom supports. Alberta Education Minister David Eggen expects to sign off on the new K–12 curriculum by the end of the year. This change will make consent a fundamental part of the sexual health curriculum from Kindergarten to graduation. Exciting work around equity is happening in a number of jurisdictions. Iceland is the first country in the world to mandate that women receive the same pay as their male colleagues for doing the same work. Under the new rules, companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies. If they can’t prove that men and women are receiving the same salary for the same job, fines will be levied. Ultimately, unions and governments can and should play a critical role in ensuring that everyone, regardless of how they identify, feels included in their work and society. This work is critical in the creation of healthy, inclusive, diverse communities.


The Reality is... by Trevana Spilchen, Delta teacher and District SOGI Co-ordinator


he other day, a recently graduated student who is transgender came by the music room to meet the new trans teacher at the school. In our conversation, the student mentioned that it was great to know that they could get a job as a trans person. I had to burst their bubble by letting them know I got the job long before I was “out.” The reality is, I wouldn’t have been hired as a trans teacher at the time I was starting my career, and it’s still an obstacle to being hired today. While schools have come far in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) inclusion, there is still more room to grow. The reality is that we live in a culture that sees gender as binary and biologically determined, and reinforces this belief in subtle and overt ways every day.

What can teachers do? For me, all I ask is that people accept me for who I am and validate my identity—the same things I believe anyone wants. I’m not asking for any special treatment. I don’t think our students are any different; they want to feel accepted and validated for being who they are, and to know that they aren’t alone in being who they are. This is why curricular inclusion of SOGI identities is so important. The curriculum needs to be a mirror so that students can see themselves reflected back, and a window so that everyone can see diverse identities represented. I grew up thinking I was the only person in the world who felt like I did. My hope is that no one feels like that now. My hope is that future students won’t bother to come see the new trans teacher or think that being transgender might limit career options. My hope is that one day my gender won’t be interesting enough to write an article about.  

iStock photo

How do we change this? For me, it is simply by being myself— something that isn’t always as easy as it sounds and took me a long time to feel safe doing. As an openly transgender female teacher, I am challenging peoples’ perceptions and assumptions of what gender is and looks like every day. After a year and a half of being out, I can say that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I use a gender-neutral Mx. honorific and they, them, their as my pronouns, reminding everyone that my identity is not part of any binary gender framework. In my classroom, I try to break down the framework by asking students to tell me

what pronoun they prefer to use at this point in time. This reminds everyone that their name or how they look and sound does not define their identity. It’s simple, yet for some may seem revolutionary or controversial because of how we have been socialized to accept gender binaries.


BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

2017–18 Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund

Youth at Risk: The impact of the closing of Iron Horse Safe House in Maple Ridge by Dale Hardy, Social Justice 12 teacher at Riverside Centre Adult Education

“He came to school and reported to the Aboriginal Support Worker that his step-dad was physically abusive to his mom, and the night before, he got in the middle of the fight trying to protect his mom. He was not wanting to return home, as he felt unsafe. [The Ministry of Children and Family Development was] called, and he was offered youth shelters in Vancouver or Surrey. He was not willing to do this, and stayed on a friend’s couch for a few days until he was no longer welcome. With nowhere to live and not wanting to move out of town, he went back to the family home where he was subject to witnessing violence, alcohol, and drug use.” —Grade 9 male Aboriginal youth* Purpose The Iron Horse Youth Safe House in Maple Ridge closed at the end of December 2014. Since 2005, “this federallyfunded safe house has helped 1,200 homeless teens, who were escaping unstable home environments, find support, stability, and family mediation” (Baker, 2014). This closure for at-risk teens in Maple Ridge had advocates fearing it would force vulnerable youth back onto the streets. My fall 2017 Social Justice 12 class examined these apprehensions. Over a six-week period, they interviewed outreach workers, Aboriginal Education support workers, liaison workers with the secondary schools, the District Parent Advisory Council president, and former School District 42 students that had been sheltered outside our district. On November 21, 2017, my students interviewed Alouette Addictions Services Outreach and Tenant Support Supervisor Melissa Teboekhorst. She substantiated the advocates’ worst fears. Within months of Iron Horse Safe House’s closure, Teboekhorst came across youth as young as 12 and 13 living in a homeless camp on Cliff Avenue in Maple Ridge. Further follow up by her team revealed that these children were being exploited by adults living in the camp. In a January 2018 interview, Heather Steele, Canadian Mental Health Outreach Worker, reported that two of our former students who had been placed at Covenant House in Vancouver had been recruited and groomed as sex-trade workers in an area hideously designated as the Kiddie Stroll. Discussions on November 2, 2017, with Annika Polegato, Executive Director of Alouette Addictions Services, revealed a population of 30–40 at-risk, transient adolescents attending School District 42 secondary schools. Most drift from couch to couch; some live in cars. When they fail to meet the guidelines of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), they find money through other means. This group, especially females, is subject

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

to exploitation. Irregular access to food is common. According to Heather Steele, the availability of Xanax to this population has triggered depression, and suicide.

“I was born in rural Saskatchewan. My mom had addiction issues. She was unable to care for me. I moved to Maple Ridge to live with my dad and step-mom. I attended elementary school. I had several siblings from different mothers. My dad was strict. One day, I was kicked out of dad’s house and went to stay with a friend. Later, this older guy took an interest in me. He invited me to stay with him. Drugs and alcohol were part of my daily life, and I stopped attending school. I felt my options were limited.”—Grade 9 female Aboriginal youth* Process On October 31, 2017, Natalie Roberson, a First Nations Support Worker with School District 42, came to our Social Justice 12 class as a guest speaker. As she had worked at Iron Horse Safe House prior to its closure, she gave us both history and access to former School District 42 students who had been placed in shelters outside of Maple Ridge. Social Justice 12 and English 12 students from my previous semester also attended. They shared interviewing strategies and experiences. November was busy, as teams of students dialogued with a clinical specialist from Fraser Health about the research and theory related to the social determinants of addiction. Further, these teams interviewed outreach workers from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Alouette Addictions Services, Sheway, and 12 former students who had been sheltered outside of Maple Ridge. The class attended a Johann Hari lecture, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. They also hosted Lynden Meadus, who as a Grade 9 student at 25

Thomas Haney Secondary School created a school project to outline the impacts of the closure of Maple Ridge’s Iron Horse Youth Safe House. Challenges • Some of my Social Justice 12 students were new Canadians with English as a second language and more traditional values. Discussions focusing on drugs, addiction, sexual abuse, family dysfunction, and the sex trade were outside their comfort zone. • Five of my students were in recovery, and returning to certain parts of the Lower Mainland for interviews triggered anxiety. • Because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, some interviews were carried out by the instructor or the outreach worker. • Unorthodox lifestyles made interviews within class time difficult. Appointments were hit and miss.

My name is Dale Hardy, and I am the Social Justice 12 instructor at Riverside Centre in School District 42. This project owes so much to Natalie Robertson; Heather Steele; Annika Polegato, Dawn Taylor, and Melissa Teboekhorst from Alouette Addictions Services; the BCTF; the Maple Ridge Teachers’ Association; and Kim Bondi, my principal who lends support to all our initiatives. Most importantly, I must thank my students and the youth at risk who shared their stories and serve to remind us of our responsibilities. Note: This project is ongoing. As of April 2018, our class is following up this report by actively engaging with politicians at all levels. *Details of testimonials have been altered to safeguard confidentiality.

iStock photo

Conclusions • According to 8 out of 12 students interviewed, a local safe house could have offered the resources needed to keep many of our kids connected to their community and their schools. • Many of the youth interviewed were in “survival mode,” in which trust issues were huge. We recommend a safehouse model with resident placements of between three to six months, with a minimal staff turnover and the ability to remain on the premises 24/7 to avoid exploitation. • Like Iron Horse, an undisclosed location is necessary to protect youth from exploitation.

“Conflict with my single mom resulted in my being kicked out of the home. MCFD became involved. As there are no group homes or safe houses in Maple Ridge, I was placed in a temporary group home in Coquitlam. I have to bus to school from Coquitlam, so I frequently do not come or arrive half-way through the day. My [Aboriginal Education] Worker is concerned that I am hanging around older youth, using drugs and alcohol.” —Grade 8 female Aboriginal youth*


BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

2017–18 Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund

Windermere Secondary School Housing Justice Conference


hat can be done to end the homelessness crisis in our communities? To find answers to this question, Windermere Secondary School’s Law 12 students organized the Housing Justice Conference under the guidance of their teacher, Donna Lee. Leading up to the conference, students researched homelessness and the affordable housing crisis in Vancouver, and created videos, posters, and the conference website. The conference featured antipoverty activist and 2017 Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson as the keynote speaker. Students were also given the opportunity to choose from a variety of workshops that focused on youth engagement, co-op housing, tiny houses, gentrification, community building, and journalism. To follow up on the conference, students submitted articles to community newspapers. The following are excerpts from articles written by Windermere Secondary School students Veronika Kong and Jacky Mah.

The Vancouver Housing crisis has affected many individuals who are currently homeless in Vancouver. So how can we work towards ending homelessness? Antipoverty activist Jean Swanson proposes that the government introduce a mansion tax. With this progressive property tax, we could end homelessness in a year. The mansion tax would bring in an extra $174 million annually. The cost of building a modular home for each of the people living in Vancouver without a home would be $160 million. This amount could be funded using less than one year’s revenue from the mansion tax. Co-op housing and tiny houses can also contribute to ending homelessness. In co-op housing, rent and other housing factors are voted on by members. This means that the members work together to keep their housing well-managed and affordable. Tiny houses are another alternative housing option. These houses are designed and built on the principles of affordability, community, and sustainability. Unfortunately, they are not currently legal in Vancouver. Homelessness affects many individuals in many ways, including their health. We should not treat housing affordability as a game for the rich when it causes others to suffer. Housing is a human right and should not be taken away from us. —Veronika Kong

I am writing this article to discuss a common problem in my neighbourhood. Housing has become extremely unaffordable, and the demand for housing has increased. Long-term citizens can no longer stay in Vancouver because of the increasing cost of homes. According to the most recent homeless count in Metro Vancouver, there are over 3,600 homeless people. This figure does not include the “hidden” homeless and the people that are at risk of losing their homes. On behalf of the Chinatown Action Group, King-Mong Chan told us how the housing crisis has affected Chinatown. Citizens living in this neighbourhood find it hard to earn enough to survive. As time goes by, they have seen Chinatown slowly taken over by more modern coffee shops and apartments. Since 2015, the Chinatown Action Group has gathered 500 residents, business owners, and community members to help tackle issues they face in their community. My Law 12 class held a clothing drive to help raise awareness of homelessness in Metro Vancouver, but that was not enough to help homeless people get off the streets. To end the crisis, we need everybody to contribute, not just small community groups and service providers. Over the years, the government has provided funding, but it has not been enough. Vancouver is considered one of the top five cities in the world for livability and quality of life. I find this hard to believe because of the high number of people surviving on the streets. Please make housing a top priority. —Jacky Mah

For more information about the Windermere Secondary School Housing Justice Conference, visit the conference website at

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


2017–18 Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund

‘Mimkwamlis and The Cultural Sharing Project by Frank Purdon, Port McNeill Teacher


n May 19, 2017, a group of students, Aboriginal elders, friends, administrative staff, and pets departed from Port McNeill, Sointula, and Alert Bay for the approximately 22 nautical miles to Village Island. Located in the Broughton Archipelago, a vast labyrinth of islands between the mainland and Queen Charlotte and Johnstone Straits, Village Island—or ‘Mimkwamlis—is the ancestral home of the Mama̱ liliḵa̱ la people of the Kwakwa̱ ka̱ ’wakw Nation. It is the site of the last coastal potlatch that took place in 1921 in contravention of the Indian Act. 45 people were arrested, and 22 men and women were sent to prison for refusing to give up their masks, coppers, and other ceremonial pieces. The village continued to exist until 1970, when the last families moved to Alert Bay. Today, the majority of the Indigenous students that I know in School District 85 come from ‘Mimkwamlis. Many live in Alert Bay.

was raised on the island until he was 14, welcomed us in Kwak’wala and then in English. As we stood in silence in front of a 14-foot midden on a beach composed of sand and clam-shell fragments polished smooth by the tides, we could sense that this place had been inhabited for a long time. After the welcome, John quickly jumped into action to prepare the fire for the salmon. Ricki McCrae, our foods teacher, started putting together the kitchen while the rest of us moved into predetermined groups that would rotate through three workshops: dance, drumming and singing, and history and culture.

The aim of the project was to engage our students and friends in an event that would foster a greater understanding of the Indigenous culture that was once in the crosshairs of brutally repressive laws. The project also aimed to celebrate Indigenous youth practising their culture, and to remind us of our responsibility to be better stewards of our territory.

Chief Arthur Dick and Diane (Honey) Alfred led the history and Chief Arthur Dick culture workshop. Arthur talked about growing up on Village Island and the transition of moving away to Alert Bay to attend secondary school in Port McNeill. Stepping off the ferry from one world to Chief John Macko another became a daily physical battle because of the racism that he experienced. Today, Arthur’s battle is against the salmon farming industry. One-third of all fish farms in British Columbia are operating in this territory. These fish farms are considered illegal by members of the Kwakwa̱ ka̱ ’wakw Nation, who have never given their permission for the farms to operate on their territory. Even just beyond this protective island at ‘Mimkwamlis, in this remote paradise, are several salmon feed lots, each holding hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon swimming fin-to-fin within an open net containment system anchored to untenured provincial seafloor leases. Everything sinks to the bottom: dead salmon, undissolved fecal matter, uneaten antibioticenriched food, and who knows what else. Arthur pointed at the sand flats, becoming more prominent with the quickly receding tide, and focussed our attention on the mottled, thick, green algal growth. “No one clams here

I arrived at the breakwater in Rough Bay, Sointula at 6:45 in the morning. The Sointula students arrived just as the Naiad pulled up to the dock. What a treat to be up on the bridge with Captain Bill and his family, looking out at the snow-covered mountains of the Nimpkish Valley, the Broughton Archipelago, the expansive Kingcome Glacier, and impressive twin peaks of Mount Stevens. Approaching the dock at Alert Bay, we could see a large crowd ready to board. There was considerable anticipation in the Alert Bay group, not only for the trip, but also for the Mountain potlatch that was to start that evening. Then we were off, heading east to the entrance of Knight Inlet, and then south to ‘Mimkwamlis, which means “rock or island out front” of the village beach. At high tide, it is possible to take a boat right up to the beach below the village site. At a low tide, however, the basin becomes an expanse of sand and mud flats that extend one kilometer and are described by the old adage, “When the tide goes out, the table is set.” In the past, this physical feature served not only as a rich clam garden, but also as protection against the Haida war parties arriving on a flood tide by allowing the people time to flee inland to hide. Approaching the village site and the protective island, we spotted Chief John Macko with a group of participants he had shuttled to the beach in his herring skiff. In no time, John had transferred the rest of us ashore, along with all the provisions for the luncheon. Chief Arthur Dick, who


BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

anymore because the accumulation of salmon farm waste on beaches leads to explosive algal growth. The algal mats suffocate the clams and prevent the baby clams from settling and repopulating our beds. Our clam beaches are turning into dead zones.” It is not just the clams that have been affected, but the wild salmon as well. One-third of all wild Canadian salmon must travel twice in their lifetime through Broughton and Discovery Islands. In doing so, they are exposed to sea lice, toxins, and a number of diseases. Sockeye salmon is no longer the diet staple that it once was. Last year, many families did not receive their annual quotient of food and ceremonial fish. For someone whose people once had access to such bounty, Arthur does not seem angry, just determined. An hour later as we moved down the beach, a couple of students found trading beads, a grim reminder of our colonizing past. Vera Newman, Arthur’s older sister, Ida Miller, an Aboriginal education specialist at North Island Secondary, and representatives from the student T’sasala Dance Group hosted the dance workshop. They made everyone welcome, and soon we were dancing around Devery Svanvik an imaginary Big House fire, always turning toward our hearts and the fire. Vera and Ida were very motivating teachers. While protocol matters in the Big House, and people are penalized financially for breaches, it is not wrong to make mistakes while learning. Seeing the dancers adorned in their button blankets that flowed as they twirled about our fire reminded me that 18 years ago, when I arrived at the secondary school, there was no open expression of Indigenous culture. Back then, even though there had been a renaissance of cultural pride thanks to U’mista Cultural Society’s efforts to repatriate stolen ceremonial regalia, Indigenous students kept their culture back in Alert Bay. Things are a lot different today at North Island Secondary School, with a thriving cultural club that welcomes special guests with dancing, singing, and drumming. Everyone is made to feel at home at the club in Pearl and Ida’s room, the home of the drum log.

group’s drums were becoming strong, indicating that the group was wrapping up. The button blankets were carefully folded for the next group. The sun was breaking through to illuminate the blinding, late spring white of the clam-shell beach. A breeze ruffled the leaves and petals of the wild rose hips that thrive on the bank. It was so quiet. There is no cell phone connection on Village Island! We gathered around Ernest Alfred, a young teacher, hereditary chief, and powerful orator, who spoke of the importance of cultural identity and how it was nearly lost because traditions were not being passed on to youth. He expressed appreciation for William Wasden, a talented and successful artist, who shifted his focus to traditional singing in order to help preserve a dying culture. Ernest connected with the youth who have joined him at the drum log in the Big House for many years, squaring the corners between identity, language, habitat, and culture, and reminding us there is still much to be done. We learned three songs, with everyone drumming while Ernest and Grade 12 student Roy Mountain sang. Of the three songs, one would be performed with the other three groups after lunch. John had a dozen sockeye on sticks that were being pulled from the fire. There was roast elk, venison, prawns, crab, and five large garden salads—what a feast! We shared a song and dance of gratitude and spent the early, sunny afternoon hanging out and talking on the beach. I talked with Devery Svanvick, a Grade 9 student who had been fasting for three days. He planned to break his fast the next morning during the

Further down the beach toward the creek, where the giant, three-headed sea serpent named Sisiutl lives, the singing and drumming Drumming Workshop

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


Tommy, sent the family tree with Michael and his sister Sophie to present to their close relatives, Vera and Arthur. Great sharing takes place during our Village Island trips! In spite of moments of despair that the skiff might become stuck, through teamwork, we managed to drag that large chunk of metal through the everdiminishing escape channel. Frank Purdon, Vera Newman, and Wallace Watts

Mountain Potlatch. I watched Roy and a Grade 3 lad, Peyton Brotchie, dance the powerful Hamat’sa, a winter ceremony dance. Roy was dancing like a super-human, and Peyton was feeding off his energy. The chills that came from the hard, slow, rhythmic drumming truncated by the primal screaming and powerful posturing of the dancers were humbling. Wallace Watts, known as Captain Seahawk, came up from Seattle for the Mountain Potlatch. As a Seahawks fan, I have seen him at least twice on my television. He recently learned that he is a close relative of Robert Mountain. Culture has come late to Wallace. He went to Port Alberni Residential School, where he said his cultural identity was beaten out of him. Now, it is more important than ever. He told me that he was the first Aboriginal pilot to fly a 787 for United Airlines. He shared some great stories and made the commitment to come back and possibly facilitate a workshop in 2018. The day slipped by and I noticed the little channels of water remaining in the basin. With less than two hours to go until low tide, the skiff looked like it might become stranded. The prospect of having to lug all our gear for over one mile to the other side of the island made for some motivated helpers. Much appreciated was help from Michael Tynjala, a Grade 10 student from Sointula. Michael is a descendant of a Finnish immigrant who settled on Malcolm Island and married a Mama̱ liliḵa̱ la woman. His father,


The thing about Captain Bill Mackay is that magic always seems to happen when he’s around. Up on the bridge, Wallace spotted a cruise ship and Bill advised everyone to be on the lookout for the humpbacks. Sure enough, one breached 300 metres off our port side. Bill slowed to a crawl, and just as the wake passed, the whale breached again from less than 50 metres away. Ernest Alfred

Thank you, Bill, Donna, James, the ‘Namgis Band Council, North Island Secondary School Parent Advisory Council, Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association, Literacy Now, and the BCTF for making another memorable Village Island day possible!

Dance Workshop

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

2017–18 Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund

Eliminating Stereotypes and Reducing Mental Health Stigma by Lori Dawson Bedard, 1st Vice President, Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association


he Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association (COTA) was approached this year by three members to provide support for two social justice events.

Child and Youth Mental Health, and The Foundry Kelowna. 13 teachers attended with their students. This will be a biannual event.

The first event was a Living Library, which occurred on January 30. 150 middle school students from all six middle schools in our local attended. 20 Living Library speakers from the community shared their oral stories, including local refugees, business entrepreneurs, speakers with physical and mental disabilities, mental health advocates, and members from the LGBTQ community. By introducing students to this group of people with diverse backgrounds, it is hoped that stereotypes and prejudice can be reduced and ultimately eliminated. Participating students took what they learned back to their schools to plan activities that were implemented on Harmony Day (February 21). Nine teachers attended with their students. This event was organized by Leigh-Ann Yanow, District English Language Learning Support Teacher. It was sponsored by COTA, the Central Okanagan Public Schools’ Human Rights Committee, and our local Lions and Lioness Club. This has become an annual event.

With the BCTF’s assistance, the COTA was pleased to support these social justice initiatives spearheaded by our members. We commend Tricia, Janelle, and LeighAnn for their enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work. We recognize how impactful these opportunities can be for youth in our schools, as well as the need for continued work in these areas. These events cannot occur without community partners, and the COTA recognizes how important it is to foster these relationships.

The second event was a Youth Mental Health Summit on February 16. 120 middle and secondary students from 11 schools in the district and one school from Okanagan Skaha School District were in attendance. The intention was to engage local students in conversation, knowledge exchange, and action around the promotion of mental wellness within our school communities. The day was organized around the themes of resilience, empowerment, and mental wellbeing. This opportunity brought students together to learn from each other and build skills that they could take back to their school communities to develop school-based initiatives for Mental Health Week in May 2018. Keynote speaker Orlando Bowen provided a very powerful lesson on forgiveness.

iStock photos

This event was co-organized by Tricia Penny and Janelle Zebedee, Health Promoting Schools Coordinators, along with representation from School District 23, the Canadian Mental Health Association,

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


A Glimpse into Social Justice 12 Classrooms Reveals Dynamic Lessons by Janet Nicol, recently retired Vancouver Social Justice 12 teacher

Long-term thinking is not radical. What’s radical is to completely alter the planet’s climate, to betray the future of my generation. What’s radical is to write off the fact that change is within our reach. —Anjali Appandurai


tacey McEachern introduces a climate justice unit to her students using this and other powerful quotes from environmentalists. The unit is part of a Social Justice 12 course that McEachern teaches at Eric Hamber Secondary School, one of 11 Vancouver secondary schools running the course this school year. Social Justice 12 is a popular elective that has been offered across the province since 2008. While there is no prescribed text or final exam, this course prepares students for further studies by giving them opportunities to analyze, discuss, and participate in a wide variety of social issues. A glimpse into some of Vancouver’s classrooms shows teachers and students are engaged in many dynamic lessons. A culminating activity to McEachern’s unit, for instance, requires students to look at systems. This allows students to “think about the waste and environmental effects that are less known, but should be a concern for all.” Pairs of students research a system connected to consumerism and/or tourism and present their findings to the class. Topics include cruise ships, the Pacific Garbage Patch, the fashion world, Hollywood movies, the Olympics, air travel, the farming industry, Christmas, Disneyland, the fast food industry, all-inclusive resorts, and online shopping. McEachern also provides a list of questions to guide the research. 32

It’s the kind of student-centred activity that has everyone learning and growing—including the teacher. “The overconsumption of resources and the pollution created by systems which we take for granted in our privileged ‘first-world’ lives are harmful,” McEachern asserts, “not only to the environment, but to the underprivileged populations who will suffer the effects to a greater degree than those who are primarily creating damage.” Sherry Preston exposed her Social Justice 12 students at King George Secondary School to many compelling issues at the Rights Talk: Youth and Civil Liberties Conference hosted by the BC Civil Liberties Association. The conference, which also included Social Studies 11 students, began with a keynote speech by Cree artist and filmmaker Jules Koostachin. “Koostachin also happens to be the Vancouver Public Library’s Aboriginal storyteller inresidence,” Preston points out, “and we could sure see why.” Koostachin shared stories of survival and sorrow growing up as a member of the Attawapiskat First Nation in Moose Factory, Ontario. “Koostachin’s presentation included her beautiful short documentary featuring her twin boys exploring issues of identity,” Preston recalls. “The film is a powerful blend of humour, wisdom, and self-reflection. It left a deep impression on all of us.”

Breakout sessions had students tackling topics such as Know Your Rights and Power, Discrimination and Anti-oppression led by experienced facilitators. “Our students especially enjoyed the hands-on exercises that some of these workshops provided to help them explore key social justice issues and concepts,” Preston observes. “We wrapped up the day by listening to a panel of activists discuss issues relating to housing, poverty, and the law. Students heard first-hand from activists who have been at the forefront of the fight for affordable housing in our city.” Holly Chalmers created a series of case studies for her Social Justice 12 class at Magee Secondary School, which she states are “designed to address the issues surrounding the causes and consequences of discrimination, unfair labour practices, and social inequity.” The case studies are developed from news reports and personal experiences submitted by her students, and range from debating the ethics of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to considering how to react to a classmate who cheats on a test. “Both sides of the situation are presented,” Chalmers explains, “and students are asked to articulate their opinions and rationale on the issues. Also, students must listen to differing opinions respectfully.” The discussions occur throughout the year—usually on Fridays—and by the end of the course, students develop their own case study and lead a class discussion. “One of the learning outcomes of the Social Justice [12] course is to teach students how to meaningfully

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

engage in communication,” Chalmers states. “The case studies fulfill this requirement by allowing students to investigate issues and engage in a dialogue.” Privilege is a concept that Alain Raoul, a teacher at Lord Byng Secondary School, asks his students to examine. “During my eight years of teaching Social Justice 12, a very meaningful lesson has been a station activity about different privileges, including that of white, male, heterosexual, able-bodied/minded, cis [-gendered], and English speaking [people],” Raoul states. “The most striking aspect of the activity,” he observes, “is students’ surprise that they have almost never critically analyzed the topic in any kind of detail during any of their years of education. This is disconcerting, since privilege is a form of power. If we don’t recognize our privileges, then how do we become responsible for them? If we aren’t responsible for this power, oppression is the logical result. As much as I’m relieved that my students have the opportunity to be responsible for their privileges, it’s unfortunate that the topic is not broached in mandatory classes.” Laura Moore also looks at privilege in her Social Justice 12 classroom at Churchill Secondary School, in a lesson called The Privilege Walk. Building trust and giving students the option to not participate, she asks them to line up shoulder to shoulder, facing the same direction. Moore then reads out a series of privilege statements. “Students silently take a step forward, backward, or do not move at all, depending on their experience with each particular statement,” she explains. “At the end of the activity, we are left with a distribution that demonstrates a certain level of inequality within our society. We follow with a thorough

debriefing and journaling to allow students to reflect deeply on the experience. I have found it to be an incredibly powerful way to open the discussion surrounding privilege and inequality in society.” Taking a critical approach to the same lesson, Killarney Secondary School teacher Shannon Moore had students in her Social Justice 12 class participate in a similar privilege walk. In this version, students use fictionalized characters and then respond privately in writing to the questions using their “real” identities. They are also asked if they are in favour of doing the walk as a class. “The majority, nearly 80%, wrote in favour, despite the ethical concerns that were raised,” Moore states. “I wanted to follow the wishes of the community, but I still worried about those students who would risk exposing things about themselves, or who would be visibly at the back of the room at the end of the walk. However, I also knew that some students who do have some privilege would learn about those that feel marginalized in their own classroom community—this can be a very powerful moment of recognition for some.”

speaking, is a lesson that I would consider the most meaningful as a social justice educator.” These lessons, generously shared by Vancouver teachers, attest to the value of a secondary school course unique to Canada’s education system. As more senior secondary electives are offered under the new curriculum, Social Justice 12 will continue to be a popular and empowering choice for students across the province.

RESOURCES FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE 12 TEACHERS BCTF Social Justice 12 web page Under the Social Justice tab on the BCTF website. This page contains information on how to start up a Social Justice 12 course and provides links to curriculum, resources, and teacher networks. Social Justice 12 BC Facebook group This open group provides a platform for Social Justice 12 teachers to share resources and ask questions of their colleagues.

As a final exercise, Moore pulled quotes from the students’ submissions—both in favour and against the privilege walk. In groups, they discussed the quotes and concluded that students were in support of the lesson. “I am still uncertain whether or not it was the right thing to do,” she admits.

TeachBC Typing Social Justice 12 into the search box on this BCTF lesson sharing site will bring up approximately 150 lessons for Social Justice 12 teachers. Two lessons by Janet Nicol are featured on this site: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action Lesson and Paige’s Story: A Lesson about a BC teen in the downtown eastside.

Moore believes this experience “represents the constant tension of teaching social justice,” and that the lesson “encapsulates the way [she sees] teaching—as a space of constant uncertainty and unknowns.” She says, “I think sharing a lesson in which I am still not sure I did the ‘right’ thing, pedagogically

Social Justice 12 list serve This list serve allows teachers to share information, ask and respond to questions, and receive BCTF ebulletins about events and resources applicable to the Social Justice 12 classroom. To add your name to the list serve, click on the red E-mail Lists link at the top of the BCTF website.

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018


iStock photos

Grants, Funds, and Awards The BCTF is a social justice union. To that end, there are several different grants and funds that can be accessed to allow teachers and locals to advocate for these principles. For application forms and examples of past grant recipients, visit the Grants and Funds web page under the Social Justice tab on the BCTF website. Local Social Justice Grants Local Social Justice Grants provide seed money for activities or projects that will bring about systemic change for social justice in schools, districts, or communities in BC. Grants to eligible applicants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Check the BCTF Grants and Funds web page to see if funds are still available for 2017–18. To ensure you have time to carry out your project by the end of the year, please apply as early as possible. Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund The Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund was established in 1994. The fund promotes socially responsible teaching in inclusive, safe, and healthy schools by providing money to assist teachers in developing and implementing violence-prevention, antiracist, multicultural, gender-equity, global, environmental, or peace resources. This year’s deadline for applications has passed, but you can read the final reports of several projects in this newsletter and start thinking about next year. Tips for Teachers Applying for Ed May and Local Social Justice Grants You can find more information on the BCTF Social Justice Grants and Funds page under the Social Justice tab on the BCTF website to help you apply for the Ed May Social Responsibility Education Fund or Local Social Justice grants. Regional Social Justice Conference Fund These biennial grants are designed to provide funding for social justice conferences that build capacity and support the growth of social justice in a given region. Funding for the 2017–18 Regional Social Justice Conference Grants is closed for this year, with Surrey and Haida Gwaii hosting conferences in the spring. Bob Rosen Social Justice Award The Bob Rosen Social Justice Award was established in 2012 to honour the memory of Bob Rosen, a BCTF social justice activist. The award may be made annually, at the Annual General Meeting, to a person who has made a significant, sustained contribution toward social justice leadership within our union. Provincial Social Justice Initiatives Grants These grants are awarded on a yearly basis to support social justice projects that have an ongoing and systemic impact on teachers and students across the province and in their community. Projects may involve local community groups, but should not be donations to these groups. The total amount of grant funds awarded in each school year is a maximum of $5,000. 34

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018




2018–19 Committee for Action on Social Justice (CASJ) • advises the BCTF on social justice issues • facilitates and promotes social justice workshops • liaises with community groups and NGOs • develops policy on emerging issues • reviews and develops materials for classroom teachers • develops and supports networks of social justice contacts in the following action group areas: Antiracism, Antipoverty, Status of Women, LGBTQ2S+, Peace and Global Education, Environmental Justice • co-ordinates the work of the six action groups.

Antiracism Action Group

Antipoverty Action Group

Andre McDowell Ryan Cho Nimfa Casson Linda Frank

Leon D’Souza Cheryl Carlson Richard Pesik Kati Spencer

Workshops • Bafa Bafa Rafa Rafa • Creating Inclusive Spaces: Apply-ing an equity and inclusion lens • Incorporating Antiracist Strategies into BC’s Revised Curriculum • Responding to Racism in the Workplace and the Classroom

Workshops • Help End Child Poverty in BC’s Classrooms, Schools, and Local Communities • Poverty as a Classroom Issue

Status of Women Action Group Mary Lawrence Trish Mugford Sheena Seymour Sonja van der Putten Workshops • Assertive Communication • Developing Allyship Skills to Break the Cycle of Cyberbullying • Promoting Healthy Youth Relationships: Educating against gender-based violence • In the Shoes of the Bully, the Bystander, and the Victim.

Environmental Justice Action Group Sue Ghattas Lauren Wright Mary Hotomanie Shelley Serebrin Workshops • Teaching Green: Integrating Environmental Justice Issues across the Curriculum (five modules available: Climate Justice, Food Security, Sustainable Resource Use, Sustainable Transportation, Water Rights).

Peace and Global Education Action Group Shannon Moore Katherine O’Connor Regie Plana-Alcuaz Randy Wedel Workshops • Bringing Global Education into Your Classroom • Creating Cultures of Peace • Strategies for Discussing Controversial Issues

LGBTQ2S+ Action Group Heather Kelley Trevana Spilchen Sean Moores Kamaron Birkett Workshops • Creating a Gender-Inclusive School Culture • Reach Out, Speak Out on Homophobia and Transphobia • Sexual Health Education: It’s fun!

Important SJ dates to celebrate Sept 21 UN International Day of Peace Sept 30 Orange Shirt Day Oct 16 World Food Day Oct 18 Person’s Day November Antipoverty Month

Nov 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women—16 Days of Action Dec 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women Dec 10 Human Rights Day

Please note: The BCTF is not responsible for the content or links found on any external website. Opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author.

BC Teachers’ Federation 100–550 West 6th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5Z 4P2

Editors: Susan Ruzic, Barb Ryeburn, Todd Patrick Copy editing: Lynda Tierney Design: Jennifer Sowerby

BCTF Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018

This newsletter is available online at Summer/Fall 2018 PSI18-00xx 35

What we stand to lose

with climate change






Sponsored by the BC Teachers’ Federation | Collage & design, Jennifer Sowerby. Source images: iStock

Take action for our future

For information on Environmental Justice teaching resources, please refer to: and

Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018  
Social Justice Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2018