We proudly launched our DSBN Wellbeing flag in November 2019 as the embodiment of student voice, inclusivity, bias-free environments, upstandership, kindness, acceptance, diversity, respect, leadership, and positive engagement. When viewing the flag, DSBN students, staff, and community members told us that the artistic representation of the multiple symbols enabled them to see themselves within it, and gave them the feeling that DSBN students, staff, and community members are accepted, safe, and have a voice that will be heard.
In stark contrast to this is the deep sadness and compassion we feel when witnessing the brutality, oppression, and violence that is occurring in the United States.
Although this is happening in another country, it is important that we look within our own communities with the painful understanding that racism, bias, and discrimination exist here and are experienced by individuals and groups daily. This is a time when our compassion alone is not enough; it is time to act.
As an educational organization, it is essential that we go beyond teaching the curriculum to fostering a culture and community where students are safe, have a voice, and can learn and grow up to be leaders who eliminate biases and challenge societal stereotypes for everyone in our community. We do this work in part, through our strategic plan, our policies, the work of our equity and diversity team, our staff and our students.
An important part of this work is to actively listen and create opportunities to speak with racialized individuals and communities in Niagara. Our work is not effective if it is not informed by the experiences, beliefs, and needs of racialized people and groups in Niagara. Through our DSBN Equity and Inclusivity Lead K-12, we will create more opportunities to listen with the intent of learning and incorporating these important voices into our organization.
Our work is just beginning, and it is imperative that we continue to look within our organization to learn about how to create and model the bias-free and inclusive culture we want our students to experience. We do not, and will not tolerate racism, discrimination, or violence in our schools or in our communities. We will continue to provide a high-quality education to our students, while working with them and our staff, to support equity, inclusivity, and eradicate racism.
Director of Education