1960 - Sharpeville, South Africa. A group of mainly racialized anti-apartheid activists marched to their local police station to protest against the country's
“pass law” that was enacted in the 1800's to curtail movement of non-white citizens. The
“pass law” required all Black Africans and racialized people to carry a “pass card” in order to travel within the country. As the activists marched, police opened fire and killed 69 people, including eight women and 10 children. An additional 180 people were injured. In 1966, the United Nations declared March 21 as the
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and as a way to commemorate the
Sharpeville Massacre. In 1986, as South Africa moved towards the dismantling of apartheid and the
“pass card” requirement was lifted, South Africa held its first democratic election in 1994 and elected
Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela as president.
59 years later, the world continues to be shaken by many forms of racial discrimination that occurs on a daily basis around the world. In Canada, we are collectively acknowledging decades of discrimination faced by First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) peoples of Canada, Muslim Canadians, immigrants both past and present and refugees seeking a safe harbour within our borders. Activist and organizations like
Black Lives Matter and Murdered and Missing Women are calling for the eradication of discrimination based on race.
In addition, the United Nations announced the International Decade for People of African Descent beginning in January 2015 and ending on December 31, 2024 to highlight the contributions made by people of African descent to society and offer concrete ways to fight racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”Nelson Mandela –
Long Walk to Freedom
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario is committed to addressing issues of racism and all forms of discrimination in our schools, communities and workplaces. As educators, we recognize that the path towards social change and equity includes supporting our members' understanding, participating in courageous conversations and participating in action-oriented solutions.
This page provides key resources that ETFO offers in addressing issues of racism, racial equality, white privilege and race-based harassment. Also highlighted are community and government organizations that are focused on addressing these issues.
ETFO's Constitution clearly states its commitment to social justice and equity. ETFO has shown its commitment to social justice and equity through a variety of statements.
Read the statements>>
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario's is committed to providing an environment for members that is free from harassment and discrimination at all provincial and local Federation sponsored activities. Harassment and discrimination on the basis of a prohibited ground are violations of the
Ontario Human Rights Code and are illegal.
Read the full ETFO Human Rights Statement>>
ETFO offers its members focused training workshops, conferences, curricular units and programs addressing the topics of racial equality, anti-racist education, white privilege and racial diversity.