Vancouver School Board: Support Black Futures Now!

To the Vancouver School Board:

We are writing today on behalf of YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society, a youth-led organization with a mission to address HIV and Hep C stigma, to express our support for Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, BC’s calls to action of June 5, 2020. We are asking for your commitment to an anti-racism policy and support for the Black students, staff, and families within the Vancouver School Board community.

BLM’s full statement, Black Lives Matter Vancouver Calls on the City to Dismantle Systems of Violence and Oppression includes calls to reduce the impacts of anti-Black racism and white supremacy in our communities. We ask that you review the full statement online here. In this statement, BLM writes:

“The Vancouver School Board must acknowledge its dismissal of several incidents of blatant anti-Black racism including hate speech and systemic practices, and commit to an anti-racism policy in collaboration with Black and Indigenous community organizations.”

YouthCO fully supports BLM’s call for the Vancouver School Board to acknowledge instances of anti-Black racism, and commit to an anti-racism policy. We affirm BLM’s call for a full commitment to the VSB’s anti-racism policy, and that Black and Indigenous community organizations be involved in this policy. We see the need for VSB to take continued steps now to ensure the safety, participation, and well-being of Black people within school communities.

Black youth in our communities have experienced systemic racism within the Vancouver School Board, both from their peers and school board staff. These experiences of racism, and inaction, dismissal, and/or gaslighting on the part of Vancouver School Board, have significant impacts on how youth engage in education. In many cases, anti-Black racism is happening at the same time as ableism and classism, and these forms of oppression have significant impacts on youth. In addition to the experiences of youth in our communities, we know that anti-Black racism is happening to other youth and staff. We recognize the leadership of organizations including BLM, and the BC Community Alliance, in the work of addressing systemic and interpersonal racism within the VSB. We urge you to take action as per these calls today.

We look forward to your response as to changes you will be making to ensure leadership of Black and Indigenous folks in the VSB’s anti-racism work, and that all Black students, families, and staff are fully supported to safely and fully participate in VSB schools.  

Sincerely,

 

Sarah Chown

Executive Director

 

*Read more about anti-racism efforts in BC schools, led by the BC Community Alliance.

BLM

YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!