The Value of Diversity; recognizing and talking about systemic racism

A black child holding a sign on the top of his dad's shoulders
Photo by: Maria Oswalt (Unsplash)
Montreal - Friday, June 19, 2020

Click here to download the PDF version of this message

To all members of the EMSB Community,

The English Montreal School Board recognizes and values the ethnic and cultural diversity of our community. We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and we strive to provide all of our students – regardless of race or culture, with the opportunity to develop their talents and achieve their personal best.  With this recognition and commitment, we cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind, including, race, religion, culture, gender or sexual orientation.

Over the past weeks, we’ve watched as many protesters in the United States, Canada and throughout the world demonstrate against anti-Black racism. The senseless death of George Floyd by police officers on May 25th in Minneapolis, and the numerous unjustified deaths of other members of the Black community in the U.S. is a painful reminder that systemic racism exists today, including in our own country.

In Canada, recent events have shown us how the Black community, the Indigenous community and people of color experience racism and injustice in their daily lives, often resulting in deadly and tragic consequences.  

The disturbing and frightening images vividly portrayed in the media over the past weeks have affected many of us on different levels, some on an emotional or psychological level. We also know that our students are watching and listening, and trying to process all of the images, statements, and countless reports on television and social media as best they can.  As a community, it’s our responsibility to be aware of the people affected around us, and support them, which can be as simple as listening and talking.

Click here to download a list of resources for educators/parents

We recognize that talking about racism can be uncomfortable for many of us – including parents, teachers and staff. Communication is a necessary step in combatting racism in all forms, and create change and equality, for ourselves, our students and our society. It is our responsibility as members of the human race to talk, to speak up against injustice and educate ourselves and our students. The English Montreal School Board is committed to playing an active role in being an integral part of the solution.

This is echoed in the following quote by the late poet and author, Maya Angelou: 

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” - Maya Angelou