Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, and Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education, have released the following statement to mark Black Shirt Day on Jan. 15, 2021:
“We stand alongside every person who has faced – and continues to face – racism today and every day. Black Shirt Day is a grassroots initiative to show solidarity with Black and racialized communities in B.C. in their ongoing struggle for equity, equality and justice.
“Jan. 15 is also the birth date of Martin Luther King Jr. On this day, we remember how he inspired millions of people to join together in the push to end racism, and how far we still have to go to create a world where everyone is treated equally, regardless of race or the colour of their skin.
“Education is a powerful tool in the fight for equity and equality.
“B.C.’s curriculum supports the teaching of Black history topics, such as the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Underground Railroad. But we understand there is more work to be done to ensure an anti-racism lens is core in B.C.'s curriculum. That’s why we are working with representatives of the BC Black History Awareness Society to identify teacher and student resources.
“We will continue to listen and work collaboratively to ensure we can effectively strengthen the curriculum, further support diversity and add to the global effort to end systemic racism.
“By learning to identify the language of racism and oppression, we can better respond to discrimination in our communities.
“With this in mind, we will be launching an anti-racism awareness campaign as part of a recent $1.9-million investment to make B.C. safer and more inclusive for everyone. Part of this funding will also support other initiatives to address individual and systemic racism.
“We’ve also expanded the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network and increased support for community projects focused on addressing anti-Indigenous, anti-Black and anti-Asian racism. Alongside these initiatives, we will be introducing B.C.’s first anti-racism act and disaggregated, race-based data collection.
“The issue of racism will not be solved by these actions alone. We need everyone in B.C. to stand together in this fight and to show that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated.
“Our government applauds the initiative of Black Shirt Day. We believe B.C. should be a province that works for everybody. It is only by working together, we can make this dream a reality.”