Students say more Black History must be taught in schools in Canada
Recent Black Lives Matter protests have sparked a surge in demand for improved education around the issue of systemic racism, and now there are also calls for more Black History to be taught in Canadian classrooms.
University of British Columbia student Daniel Afolabi is the driving force behind a a petition which is calling on Alberta's Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, to to include Black History and its modern impacts in the province's curriculum.
“Currently, Black History, especially Black Canadian History, is overlooked and under-taught in elementary, middle and high school classrooms,” explains 20-year-old Afolabi.
He continues: “Alberta's students need to learn how Black people have contributed to Canada, and how Black Canadians were and are mistreated by the Canadian government. The inclusion of Black history in the classroom will foster overdue acknowledgement of Black contributions to Canada and garner enhanced respect from non-Black individuals.”
The petition asks for subjects like “Canada's historic involvement and participation in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade,” and “Modern impacts of racism such as systemic inequalities, police brutality and micro-aggressions” to be added to curriculums.
The petition also recommends a list of necessary changes that can be made right now, including increasing the amount of content involving Black history in the classroom and incorporating local Black communities into schools by inviting Black speakers, educators and activists in as speakers.
Afolabi maintains that these changes will help to create a generation of youth in Alberta that is more "informed and self-aware."
He adds: “Alberta has one of the best education systems in our country. For it to stay great, it needs to reflect an accurate portrait of our country, one that includes Black History.”
In a statement shared with Global News, Alberta Education spokesman Colin Aitchison replied: “Throughout the social studies curriculum, there is a strong focus on Canadian history, including issues related to the histories, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples and people of African and Caribbean descent to our province and country.”
“The recent events unfolding across North America are a clear example as to why it is important to educate our youth about racism.”
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