VANCOUVER – Students and staff are invited to team up with the BC Lions football club to celebrate diversity and be part of the solution to end racism in schools. In partnership with the Province of British Columbia, Beedie and RBC plus supporting partners Westland Insurance and Snowcrest Foods, the Lions organization is proud to launch our Team Up To End Racism program.
“Many BC Lions players have witnessed or felt discriminated against and they are compelled to bring their experiences and their credibility to schools to help students find their voices to stand up against racism when they see it and to encourage diversity in all school communities,” said BC Lions President, Rick LeLacheur. “Every student deserves a level playing field, to feel connected and a sense of belonging in our schools.”
“Schools must be safe and welcoming places for all students, families and staff,” said Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside. “We are pleased to partner with the BC Lions and welcome another resource in schools to stamp out racism and to be active participants in the global efforts to end systemic racism.”
BC Lions players will deliver student presentations between February and May 2022 aimed at grades 6 to 10 classes. The presentation will explore and engage students on anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion, sharing personal experiences and facilitating conversations in at least 20 schools. The workshops will be held in-person or virtually depending on public health orders. Student participants will be selected by school leadership.
Said Lions VP of Business George Chayka:
“The BC Lions are proud to help make a difference in educating our youth on the importance of diversity and inclusion to help end racism. We would like to thank our presenting sponsors the Province of BC, Beedie and RBC along with our supporting partners Westland Insurance and Snowcrest Foods who share the same values in wanting to make a difference for positive change in our communities. We appreciate their support on this important initiative and look forward to our visits in the lower mainland and around the province starting next February.”
The BC Lions will report back to the ministry with student survey results and lessons learned by the end of the 2021/2022 school year.
“It’s an unfortunate truth that anyone from sports superstars to students can be the targets of race-based discrimination and it is completely unacceptable,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “We are cheering on students, staff, the BC Lions and all partners who are ready and willing to stand up against hate, discrimination and racism in our schools and in our neighbourhoods.”
The Ministry of Education continues to build on its anti-racism action plan. The first steps brought rightsholders and education stakeholders together for anti-racism roundtables in July 2020 and July 2021. The ministry has expanded its Expect Respect and a Safe Education (Erase) strategy to include Erase racism resources and information for students and parents. Training has also been included in the strategy for school districts to specifically address racism in schools. And the minister’s youth advisory council will soon be established with anti-racism as its first topic of focus.
- All of B.C.’s 60 school districts and independent schools have safe school coordinators and codes of conduct or policies in place that align with the B.C. Human Rights Code. These codes and policies are designed to ensure schools remain free of discrimination against a person based on race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age of that person or class of persons.
- B.C.’s Erase strategy addresses anti-bullying, racism, discrimination and other harmful behaviours, and includes an anonymous online reporting tool.
- About the Erase strategy. Students, families, staff and teachers can access resources through the Erase website to help them build safer school communities: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/erase
- About the BC Lions team up against racism program HERE