In 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 Laws which were enacted in the 1800's to curtail movement of non-white citizens. The
Pass Laws 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 8 women and 10 children. An additional 180 people were injured. In 1966, this event officially became known as the the Sharpeville Massacre and the United Nations declared March 21 as the
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The pass card requirement was lifted in 1986 as South Africa moved towards the dismantling of Apartheid. South Africa held their first democratic election in 1994 and elected Nelson Mandela as President.
As in 1966, the world continues to be shaken in 2018 by the many forms of racial discrimination occurring on a daily basis. In Canada, we are collectively acknowledging the decades of discrimination faced by the First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) peoples of Canada, Muslim Canadians, immigrants past and present and more recently refugees seeking a safe harbour within our boarders. Activist 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 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.
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."Nelson Mandela –from his essay Working towards Peace
The United Nations 2018 theme for the
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is:
Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination. "Everyone is entitled to human rights without discrimination."
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. Highlighted are also 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. For more information please visit
this web page.
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.
ETFO provides a structured and delineated process for Racial and Ethnocultural Harassment. Please visit
this web page for more information.
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.