Focusing In On Anti-Racism and Equity
This may be the end of the school year, but it is just the beginning for Limestone's Equity Journey!
As we reflect on this school calendar year, let's recognize some of the groundwork laid in 2021-2022, for building more equitable future pathways for Limestone staff, students, and community members.
This year's focus was to truly listen to staff, student, and community voices (gathered through formal and informal data collection, affinity groups, advisory committees, etc.), revise the equity action plan reflecting the input received on the initial draft, and continue to work towards cultivating safer, more inclusive learning/work environments, and identity-affirming experiences.
We would be remiss to not also acknowledge that there is a lot of work to be done, turning plans into accountable actions, consistently standing up, and advocating for human rights.
Our identities interconnect and shape our shared world. We must interrupt all instances of hate, reflect and challenge bias, and commit to unlearning and relearning, to counter hate with love.
Here is a "Top 5" acknowledging the important role we all play in being part of the necessary change, so everyone sees themselves in Limestone.
#1: Everyone has the potential to be part of impactful change!
Congratulations Trustee Brown!
Trustee Judith Brown has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Dr. Harry Paikin Award for outstanding service as a public school trustee by the Ontario Public Schools Boards Association.
Trustee Brown has worked tirelessly to advocate for and raise the voices of the Black community within Limestone and throughout the larger community.
Trustee Brown championed Umoja, the first Black Community Caucus, for the board and was instrumental in a Board motion that initiated a review of the school board’s human rights incident reporting process. On behalf of the students, families and staff of Limestone, congratulations Trustee Brown you are an invaluable voice at the Board table, and you have an immeasurable impact on the Kingston community, especially in mentoring Black youth.
The Youth Coalition to Combat Islamophobia (YCCI) was founded by students with a desire to do something about Islamophobia!
"I started YCCI (Youth Coalition Combating Islamophobia) for all those who felt like me. The truth is there is something we can do. There is something everyone can do. It is my hope that if we work together, we can bring about positive change. It is my hope that we can dismantle Islamophobia and end all forms of hate. It is my hope that every educator will guide students to challenge their biases and understand that lesser forms of Islamophobia are connected to more extreme forms: they originate from the same ignorance, intolerance and systems of disenfranchisement."
- Maryam Al-Sabawi
#2: Everyone has the right to be respected, valued seen!
National Indigenous History Month
Within this month, we also celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the 21st. This is a day for everyone to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of FNMI peoples.
Although these communities share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices, and traditions. June 21st was chosen in cooperation with Indigenous organizations, as for many generations, Indigenous peoples and communities celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.
The Indigenous Education Team has put together a resource on the Top 10 Ways to Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day!
Thank you for your continued commitment to celebrating Indigenous communities this month, and all year round!
Pride Month honours 2SLGBTQ+ accomplishments and recognizes the social justice work that still needs to be done
Many students, staff, families, and community members identify as members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The district engaged in inclusive programming and held events to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that everyone not only sees themselves in Limestone but also feels a strong sense of belonging and connectedness.
We want everyone who learns, works or volunteers in our school board to feel safe and supported, valued and seen.
LDSB flew the new intersex-inclusive progress flag,
In addition to the 6 colors of the original Rainbow Flag, this flag includes five arrow-shaped lines acknowledging groups that have been historically left out of Pride events.
The black and brown stripes represent members of the Black, Indigenous, and racialized 2SLGBTQ+ communities. The pink, light blue, and white stripes incorporate the colours of the Transgender Pride flag. The purple circle and yellow triangle represent the Intersex community.
because safe relationships and spaces matter!
Here are some resources from School Mental Health Ontario with Tips on being Caring Adult Allies Every Month of the Year
#3: Everyone Deserves to Feel Safe and Welcome
Each year on June 20, the world celebrates World Refugee Day
This year's focus was the right to seek safety.
Every person on this planet has a right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee.
#4: Your Voice Matters
Thank you to everyone who shared their voice with the equity team. Your voice matters and continues to make a difference in shaping the work ahead!
As Director Burra and the Chair of the Board Trustees state in the revised Equity Action Plan, "Equity must be the lens through which we embrace and lead cultural change in our school communities."
Here is the updated Equity Action Plan: LDSB Equity Plan 2020-2023, 2nd Edition April 2022
#5: You Matter!
Rest, rejuvenate and recharge, because you deserve it!
EQUITY MATTERS: FOCUSING IN ON ANTI-RACISM AND EQUITY
As Limestone District School Board employees, we are all a part of this learning journey. If you have ideas about future equity topics or terminology, please contact Rae McDonald.