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ETFO, TDSB take action to address spike in anti-Asian racism during COVID-19 pandemic by creating resource for educators

Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Categories: News Releases

Cover page of Addressing Anti-Asian Racism Resource for EducatorsElementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and Toronto District School Board (TDSB) have partnered to develop Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators, a resource to empower educators to take action against anti-Asian racism.

“At the TDSB, we proudly serve the most diverse population of students and families in Canada. Within our schools, we also experience and witness the harmful ways that world events can influence acts of racism, hate and discrimination on an individual level,” said TDSB Director of Education Karen Falconer. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in racist attitudes and behaviors towards Asians and people of Asian descent here in Toronto, as it has across our country and internationally. Acts of anti-Asian discrimination are unacceptable and cause harm to the health, well-being and safety of educators, students, families and communities. This much-needed resource offers new approaches to learning and innovative actions to identify, name and address anti-Asian racism in partnership with families and communities.”

“This timely and important resource aims to offer an urgent response to racism that has been accentuated during the global pandemic,” added Sam Hammond, President of ETFO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to violence and overt forms of discrimination that continue to impact some of Ontario’s racialized and marginalized communities. This innovative project demonstrates the strength of working together to develop a significant tool that supports the professional learning of educators as they offer high-quality learning in public schools.”

Anti-Asian violence has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Since then, both ETFO and TDSB have heard from educators, students and the community about their experiences confronting anti-Asian racism and its impact on the mental health, well-being and safety of educators, students, families and communities.

Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators provides a foundation for reflection, discussion and social justice action, and centres Indigeneity and Black lives within the document. It also solidifies the work of anti-racism as a practice and approach through understanding, interconnecting and allying multiple identities and issues.

This resource was created by a team of educators of Asian descent whose lived experiences, both personal and professional, and knowledge and passion for social justice are reflected in its pages. The resource includes: conceptual frameworks, knowledge and issues; a toolkit for school leaders and educators; and community resources and relevant policies.

“This resource will provide important tools as we build capacity among school and central staff to identify and address anti-Asian racism. At the TDSB, we are committed to creating, maintaining and promoting a school system that is free from discrimination and which is safe and respectful for all,” said Falconer.

“The anti-Asian discrimination resurfacing today has deep historical, colonial roots in this country and this is an urgent time to ensure we end this troubled history of racism,” noted Hammond. “At the same time, we must recognize that to enrich students’ knowledge and understanding of Canadian history, we must go beyond the curriculum to also affirm and value Black and Indigenous Peoples’ lives.”

Watch the launch of the resource from February 9, 2021.