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by Anureet Caur and Nandika Ravi

It’s been a year since the killing of George Floyd. Floyd’s death led to worldwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism in society. What has really changed after a year of raising voices against racial injustice?

Malton resident Dwayne James believes change is coming, although at a slow pace. People are more aware about the racial discrimination; James is hopeful that education that starts at the grassroot level can bring a positive social change.

“I want to say yes, I believe there was change, I believe there’s more awareness,’ James said.

“If you can teach the young equality and genuine love for each other, then I don’t see why things don’t improve.”

Nivedita Shori, an elementary teacher with Peel District School Board, said the school Board provided teachers with several resources that helped them not only teach students about anti-Black racism, but also challenged educators to think about their own biases.

“There have been a lot of discussions and we have had a lot of reflections and critical thinking,” Shori said.

“We’ve had resource teachers working with us, to help us see our lesson designing and to help us analyze if we are causing any harm to any communities or any groups or any particular students in the way we’re designing our lessons.”

Rachana Hundal, a high school student from Peel, thinks the curriculum is up to date, covering topics around system racism and inclusion.

“A lot of my courses, we would do projects and assignments about Black Lives Matter and systemic racism,” Hundal said.

“We would have active discussions about Black Lives Matter and racism, we would have presentations about racism. We would learn the history of racism in many different forms in my dance class.”

Hundal feels that there’s a certain stereotype about Black kids in the South Asian community, which she thinks should be addressed.

“If you want your parents to be okay with you hanging out with your Black friends, maybe introduce your Black friends to your parents,” she added.

Shori says some south Asian kids fall victim to dual identities, but are open minded when it comes to learning about other cultures. So, creating safe and inclusive space for students where their identities are represented and valued is the only way forward.