Responding to Anti-Black Racism: Resources to Support Parents and Students

Responding to Anti-Black Racism: Resources to Support Parents and Students
Posted on 06/21/2020
Responding to Anti-Black Racism: Resources to Support Parents and Students

Anti-Black racism includes a range of attitudes, beliefs, stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice targeted specifically at individuals of African descent. The effects of anti-Black racism extend beyond individual acts of prejudice and discrimination, impacting entire communities and generations. 

The impact of anti-Black racism persists today, adversely affecting the opportunities, access, and outcomes of Black students within the education system. Disproportionate discipline, lack of representation in the curriculum and staff, academic streaming, overrepresentation of Black students in special education programs, teacher bias and stereotyping are some of the ways that anti-Black racism manifests in schools. 

Experiences of anti-Black racism have a profound impact on the safety, well-being, sense of belonging, and academic achievement of Black students. Addressing these systemic issues is crucial to creating equitable and inclusive learning environments that support the success and overall well-being of Black students. Furthermore, addressing race inequality must include an understanding of the intersections of other forms of inequality, such as gender, class, sexuality, faith, and gender identity. These inequalities often operate together, exacerbating and compounding a student's experience of oppression. Ignoring or erasing parts of a student's identity contributes to oppression and harms their well-being and academic progress.

The OCDSB adheres to The Ontario Human Rights Code which provides equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from racial discrimination in the workplace and at school. Students, families, and staff of African, Black, and African-Caribbean descent should feel physically and emotionally safe, welcomed and accepted at school. This means all OCDSB schools must:

  • foster inclusive environments where all Black students and staff feel safe and comfortable to explore and express their identities,
  • ensure Black students and staff are safe from overt forms of discrimination, and
  • represent the experiences and identities of Black students in our classrooms and curricula.

The Equity Department is committed to serving Black students, respecting and leveraging the strengths of their individual and intersecting identities, and disrupting the barriers that limit their potential, well-being, and achievement.

Learning and Support

The following list of OCDSB and community supports has been compiled to provide support to Black students, families, and caregivers.

OCDSB Supports for Black Students  

The Sankofa Centre of Excellence Graduation Coach Program

The Sankofa Centre of Excellence Graduation Coach Program is committed to advancing the academic success of African, Black and Caribbean students in the OCDSB. Learn more about the program.

Black Youth Forum Course

This year-long course meets the learning, growth and personal development needs of the students from African, Caribbean and Black communities within the OCDSB. This course offers Black Youth Forum student leaders the opportunity to gain a senior course credit to develop or enhance their research, problem solving or critical analysis skills. For more information about the Black Youth Forum, please contact [email protected]

Identity-Specific Student Support Coordinators 

African, Caribbean and Black students have access to support from identity-specific Student Support Coordinators through the equity department. Reach out to your school principal, vice-principal or guidance counselor for more information. 

Virtual Black Excellence Club (Grades 7 to 12)

This weekly virtual student-led hangout for African, Black, and Caribbean OCDSB students provides a culturally-responsive and welcoming environment where ABC students can connect. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Black History Month 

We encourage every member of the OCDSB to take part in celebrating Black history, culture, and achievements throughout the year. Learn more here. 

Community Resources For Black Students 

Community Resources For Parents, Guardians and Caregivers

  • Centre for Resilience and Social Development - Delivers services to Black youth between the ages 6-25 and their families who seek interventions to meet their educational and career/life goals.
  • Jaku Konbit - Supports individuals and families of African and Caribbean descent by providing programming for  youth, elders, and the community
  • Parents of Black Children - Supports and advocates on behalf of Black students and their parents. Works to address and dismantle anti-Black racism and systemic barriers within the education system. Provides a safe and supportive place for parents of Black students to share their experiences and issues within the school. Develops strategies and recommendations to improve the experience of Black students within schools.
  • Parents for Diversity  -  Promotes knowledge and understanding of equitable and inclusive learning environments, supports students’ rights to discrimination-free learning environments, and anti-racist teaching practice. Builds resources on equity in education, facilitates public conversations on equity and inclusion in schools, and provides recommendations on policy, regulation, legislation and guideline changes.
  • Upstream Ottawa (The Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY) - Provides mental health services which are  community-based, client-focused and equitable. Also provides mental health, substance-use, health and addiction support services to youth and adults.
  •  The African, Caribbean & Black Wellness & Resource Centre (ACB) - Provides mental health support, youth training, a weekly food bank, housing assistance, and programming to reduce social isolation for the elderly. The center enables these communities to overcome discrimination based on immigration status and race.
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