February 4, 2022 Message to Members
“While I have your attention…”
"We have an obligation to educate ourselves and to teach our students about the complex, beautiful, and vibrant histories of Black peoples and communities. Those of us who are not Black also have a responsibility to fight against and eradicate anti-Black racism. Black people should not have to teach non-Black people about oppression.”
- Manvir Mander
It has been an eventful week, and promises to be an eventful month. Maybe because February is the shortest month, it feels more dense, as if we packed for a two week vacation with an overnight bag. Contributing to this sense of density may be the significance and consequence within February’s observances.
February begins with National Freedom Day, includes World Cancer Day, and welcomes the lunar new year. On the 2nd, groundhogs offered imperfect projections for winter’s demise: in 2022, Nova Scotia will batten down for another six weeks of winter, while Ontario will welcome an early spring. February also marks the birthdays of several important figures from history. Those born on February 29th have yet two more years of patient anticipation. And since 1995, Canada has dedicated February to acknowledging and celebrating the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities.
At the turn of the calendar page, Professor Nouman Ashraf concluded his portion of our BCPVPA Professional Learning Series with Stories of Equity, and rich discussions held in Learning Circles. I am certain those gathered with Professor Ashraf recorded a number of ‘Noumanisms’, as he offered his listeners many profound thoughts and considerations for leading the work of equity. Among them, his declaration that “all leadership is about duty of care” and his metaphor of “self as instrument” ring loudly for me as February arrives.
Defined simplistically, ‘duty of care’ is the responsibility and obligation we have to take “all reasonable measures necessary to prevent activities that could result in harm.” This would include acts of omission. When this duty is interpreted through his metaphor, we must use ourselves wisely and in good service of those in our care; we must leverage our privilege in service of impact.
Each Friday, I fill this space in the hope that my words find some purpose and meaning with an audience. I am grateful for the response I have received, and it is apparent our weekly newsletter holds space in the day for many. This week, I abbreviate my contribution. Rather than reading my words today, I encourage readers to spend this time acknowledging, celebrating, and learning from these voices:
BC’s Black Pioneers: Their Industry and Character Influenced the Vision of Canada
Black History Month in BC
Black History Month in Canada
Canadian Black History Resources
Each One Teach One
Eleanor Collins: More Than a Century of Black History!
Emancipation Day in Canada: Past, Present and Future
Hogan’s Alley Society
Hope Meets Action
Noted Black Pioneer Influencers in Education
Surrey Schools Launch Black Studies 12 Course
Test Your Knowledge (online quiz)
We Honour and Remember
Keep well and safe.