When it comes to engaging in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-racism work, we’ve heard people tell us that they need a place to start: a place where they can unlearn values that uphold systems of oppression and learn or relearn the values, norms and practices that create a space for meaningful change.

The New Westminster Schools’ Parent DEIA Toolkit (this section of our website) is a resource that can be used to help develop your antiracist consciousness at home.

Anti-racism is more than being inclusive and celebrating diversity. It also includes standing up against racism in all its forms. It means actively being for freedom, liberation and justice (Hawthorne, 15, 2022). Anti-racism is more than just a destination, it is an opportunity to practice actively challenging power and bias, and to use our privilege to take action to help dismantle barriers in our communities, so everyone can show up as their authentic selves.

Being anti-racist requires creativity as we re-imagine our current relations with members of IBPOC communities. How can we build solidarity with IBPOC community members? We do so by teaching love, compassion and joy to uplift the voices who have been historically marginalized. We do so through community accountability. What type of community do all children need in order to develop to their full potential?

From Britt Hawthorne 鈥 author of Raising Antiracist Children: A practical guide shares with families five principles for Antiracist parenting 鈥 we have these five principals:

  1. Community is at the heart of Antiracism.
  2. Children have a natural desire to learn.
  3. Antiracism requires imagination, creativity and action.
  4. An Antiracist-prepared environment is important
  5. Re-parenting is required- enjoy the learning and unlearning that with happen.

By ensuring this work is happening in our homes, we help ensure it’s happening in our schools and our communities too. Because, to make systemic change we will need everyone to engage in accountability.

“Community Accountability strategies aim at preventing, intervening in, responding to and healing from violence through strengthening relationships and communities by emphasizing mutual responsibility for addressing the conditions that allow violence to take place, and holding people accountable for violence and harm.”
(The Audre Lorde Project, National Gathering on Transformative and Community Accountability, Sept 2010.)

Community accountability

As a community, we would like to reduce harm but know we can鈥檛 always prevent it. What we can do is: promise each other to be present and help each other to heal when harm does occur.

When we engage in community accountability we do so with these foundational values:

TRUTH: Radical honesty with yourself and others.

TIME: Expect everything to take longer than you anticipate.

TRUST: An imperative effort to assume the best intentions. This includes applying that trust to the person who has caused harm, unless they show a lack of integrity in the process.

TRANSFORMATION: A change in behaviour and a commitment to avoid harming in the same way again.

As you start your journey through unlearning and new learning, our community has to be kept at the centre of this work. There is no quick fix or single answer to fighting systemic racism, discrimination and oppression. It will take truth, time and trust to lead us into transformation. We are encouraged that you are here for the journey and we look forward to doing this work with you, affecting change for everyone here in at New Westminster Schools and in our wider community of New Westminster.

Here are some of the curated resources we’ve pulled together about how some specific races experience racism (acknowledging that we’ll add to and change these as this overall tool evolves):

Choosing your own resources through an antiracist lens

When searching for books to inspire curiosity and learning about the lived experiences of racialized members in society, here are some questions you may ask yourself:

  • What are the main characters鈥 racialized identities?
  • Why do you think the author chose to center this lived experience?
  • Is this author or content you want to support? (Even with good intention, there are still people creating new content that others in the community would say is harmful.)
  • How can you recenter or balance what you are reading?

Representation matters, but we must be intentional about the media and resources we are choosing, whether it is for ourselves or for our children. It’s important to question: is what we are seeing truly an accurate representation? Or are we reharming or re-stereotyping groups and their lived experiences?

TV, Movies, Reading and Media

As you consume media content, there are a few ways you can think about what you’re reading, listening to or watching.

Notice: What do you notice about the characters, people, time, or environment?  Is this story current or historically written? Who is racially present? Who is racially missing? What do you notice that may be unfair, harmful or hurtful to someone or a group they may associate with?  Consider: In the same situation, how would you connect and check on the person being harmed? Why did the problem or situation arise? Who is affected by the problem or situation? How? What can be done to solve or address the problem? Who has the agency to address the problem? What are all the actions that could be taken to support the student? Who could we have involved to help?
Agency: What risks were taken? What would you do in the same situation? What ways do you support those who need it?Accountability: How did the characters see the action through to completion? How can you, in your position of power and privilege, raise awareness about the problem and situation? How are you going support on-going efforts towards antiracism?

Reading Articles to Learn and Unlearn?

Reading articles is another tool one can use to unlearn misinformation. It gives the opportunity to sit with the content and process on our own time, using the author鈥檚 voice, language and perspective. When reading articles please do the following:

  • Take note of the title to see if it was written to evoke emotion.
  • Check out the author 鈥 search their name and bio and read previously published articles. Do they have experience in the subject matter or has their perspective changed over time? 
  • When reading the article, highlight what confirms your base knowledge, but also write down what challenges your current views.
  • Answer the following questions when you are done:
    • What was the injustice?
    • Who or what group experienced the injustice?
    • Who or what is causing the injustice?
    • What actions were taken, or could be taken, to create a different outcome?

(Tips from Britt Hawthorne: Antiracist Parenting … and you can see the below interview with Britt below, as she talks about what this can look like.)

Interested in continuing your learning? Use the navigation at the top of the page (in the left bar for desktop platforms, or the 鈥淪ection menu鈥 under the banner for mobile) to explore a new topic, or use the below button to get to the next page in the DEIA Parent Toolkit