‘We want to see some effective change,’ says newly formed Alta. Black Teachers Association

EDMONTON — The newly formed Black Teachers Association of Alberta is pushing for social justice in education.

Andrew Parker and Sarah Adomako-Ansah, two Edmonton teachers, started the group last summer in response to the Black Lives Matter protests.

“We started bouncing ideas off each other and thought: How can we change society as educators?”

BLM protest Edmonton

In the beginning, they started reaching out to Black teachers and allies about how to change the world’s view of the Black community.

“I was waiting for some people in education to speak up.” Parker said.

Eventually he recognized that as a teacher, he had to speak up and advocate for equality in education.

“If I don’t say something right now, who knows? You might have to wait until 2040, 2060, 2080 to actually see some change happening,” he said.

“I can’t just say it’s been myself. It’s been a number of teachers in Calgary and Lethbridge who all want change. Black teachers, white teachers, Asian teachers. It’s not just something within the Black teacher community; it’s something that’s happening in all of education right now.”

Parker said the association has been independently creating anti-racism committees within schools, supporting Black student-led groups and providing professional development sessions. He added there’s still a lot of work to do.

“I would advise them to reach out to the highest levels of education. I would advise them to advocate for Black, Indigenous or person of colour in a consulting position. I would advise them to ensure Black vendors are getting opportunities within our school. I would advise them to join Black student-led groups and civil rights groups,” Parker said.

“It’s 2021. We want to see some effective change for the future.”

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