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May 8, 2008



The members of the CUPE Ontario Rainbow Committee support the members of the African Canadian community in Toronto who have been advocating for decades for an African centered school to address the disengagement and failure of many African Canadian students in the public education system.


The history, contributions and achievements of Africans and African Canadians is missing from the curriculum. Studies done by, among others, Dr. George Dei (a retired professor University of Toronto, OISE), Keren Brathwaite, founding member of the Organization of Parents of Black Children (OPBC) and  and Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome indicate that children from marginalized communities succeed when their lived experiences, history and culture are an integral part of their learning environment.


The Trustees of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) made a decision after receiving a plan for an alternative African centred school from members of the African Canadian community. There was extensive consultation with the community at large culminating with the deputations to the TDSB on January 29th 2008. It was a democratic process; the trustees voted 11 to 9 to establish an African centred alternative school in September 2009. It is now time to move to the next step in the process, providing support for the students, parents and community of the African centred alternative school to ensure that it a successful venture for all stakeholders.


The premier of Ontario needs to recognize the democratic process that led to the decision to establish an African centered school. Using the inflammatory language of segregation promotes the politics of division; the liberal government should seek to address the problem of student failure. One contributing factor to student failure, recently underlined in the Julian Falconer Safe School Report are the challenges that derive from poverty. Poverty is all too pervasive in African Canadian communities residing in Toronto.  What we need is our governments to provide the framework for real long-term solution and not empty rhetoric. 


In solidarity,


Yoland MacClean, Equity Vice President

On Behalf of the Equality Committee