British Columbia

Vancouver rally highlights anti-Black racism in B.C. schools

Organizers are asking for action from the Education Ministry to ensure that Black history has a more prominent place in the curriculum and that anti-Black racism in the B.C. school system is acknowledged. 

Organizers asking Education Ministry to ensure Black history has more prominent place in curriculum

Burnaby high school student Haleluya Hailu spoke at a protest organized Friday by Black Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Protesters in Vancouver are calling for changes to the education system to rid classrooms of racism against Black students.

The "Black Stories" rally, organized by Black Vancouver, was held Friday afternoon outside the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Organizers are asking for action from the Education Ministry to ensure that Black history has a more prominent place in the curriculum and that anti-Black racism in the B.C. school system is acknowledged. 

The event featured students sharing their stories about racism in the public school system, as well as musical and poetry performances.

Burnaby North secondary student Haleluya Hailu, who has previously questioned the presence of RCMP liaison officers at her school, spoke about feeling pressure to work twice as hard as everyone in her class.

"There are still people waiting for me to slip up. One mistake and I start back with nothing," she said.

Other speakers talked about the isolation they feel because they are the only Black students in their classes, and said they don't see Black representation among the people who run B.C. schools.

Watch scenes from Friday's protest:

Protesters called for changes to the education system to rid classrooms of racism against Black students. 0:59
Demonstrators attended a 'Black Stories' protest organized by Black Vancouver on Friday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

With files from Jon Hernandez and Gian-Paolo Mendoza

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