July 5th, 2022

DCDSB must restore anti-racist language in school policy: MPP Lindo

KITCHENER – As tensions grow between those calling for anti-racist work to continue in Ontario public schools and those challenging the importance of this work, founding member of the NDP Black Caucus, NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre), released the following statement regarding the removal of anti-racist language from the anti-racism policy of the Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB):

"It is impossible to do anti-racism work without using anti-racist language, language the defines the issues, explains the impact, and carves out a pathway to equity and inclusion in and across Ontario public schools.

The removal of words like "white supremacy,” “colonialism,” “anti-Black racism,” “microaggression,” “reparation,” “intersectionality” and “restorative practice” from the anti-racism policy for the DCDSB serves only to undermine the calls from Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities who have been demanding that elected officials use their positions of influence and privilege to combat white supremacy and systemic racism. By removing anti-racist language from an anti-racism policy, these experiences have been dismissed, ignored, and diminished. Elected officials at all levels of government can and should do better.

When we don’t name, define, and speak openly about experiences of racism, we create a culture that shies away from difficult, yet critically necessary, conversations about our histories and the impact of systems designed to ensure only some of us thrive. When we remove the language outlining pathways forward, we ensure that no solutions to the very real harm experienced by Black, Indigenous and other racialized people are designed. We simply cannot create safe, accepting, empowering spaces for anyone across Ontario schools if we are too scared to use the words necessary to facilitate the change we need. An anti-racist policy without anti-racist language does nothing to move our communities towards real, authentic, inclusion.

I strongly encourage the DCDSB, Durham communities, and all DCDSB Trustees to engage with Black, Indigenous and racialized community members in a way that centres their voices, validates their experiences, and relieves them of the emotional and mental labour required to continue to push back against systemic erasure of their realities.”