Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter
Liason: Eleanor Marie Yang
Master of Arts in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies specializing in transnational and diaspora studies and worked with Hakka (Chinese) community members in the Greater Toronto Area. I am passionate about social justice and community organizing.
What was the aim of the project, and what progress have you made?
For the past three years, our organization has been working with students, parents, education staff, stakeholders, and more to create a more equitable education system. Our efforts to fight for equity in education include building the leadership capacity of youth and parents, providing accessible information sessions and resources about accessing education opportunities to folks, and strengthening our partnerships with stakeholders such as community organizations and school boards. Addressing anti-Asian racism has been identified as a top priority in this process. When it comes to our work in education equity, we recognize how systems are not built to incorporate and accommodate our Chinese Canadian community members - we are not included in the curriculum, modes of communication or consultation are oftentimes inaccessible (language wise), experiences of racism and discrimination are minimized, there is a lack of culturally competent resources and supports, and the list goes on.
What impact did the project have on you and your community?
As part of our work, we have developed a strong youth and parent base and have been working to build community members’ racial justice knowledge. Additionally, we’ve been working with community partners and stakeholders to conduct anti-Asian racism training sessions, so that we can move the conversation about anti-Asian racism away from individual responsibility to one that recognizes it as a systemic force.
As well, we have joined various consultations, roundtables, and equity-serving groups in the Greater Toronto Area and specific school boards. We have hosted various events, where youth and parents are able to speak about their experiences with the education system and share about their advocacy work so that our members can engage directly with those serving their schools to create change.
Throughout the years, the Education Equity project has:
- Solidified our community base, allowing members to share their unique experiences and challenges and to come together to create community and school supports for those most vulnerable;
- Solidified our partnerships, connecting us to other organizations that serve racialized and marginalized communities, including in education. By strengthening these bonds, we can better unite to create community support and advocate for change;
- Taught our members to call out injustice, whether it’s facing them or others. They have learned that their voice holds power and encouraged our community members to demand and do better.
What do you envision as the future for this project?
Our future plans are to continue engaging more Chinese parents and youth in our work, as their voices and opinions deserve to be heard and incorporated into our education systems. We will also be continuing to develop stronger relationships with other organizations doing youth and parent engagement work, specifically within racialized and marginalized communities, and other advocacy work at school levels.
Our goal is to continue working alongside our community members to get school boards to acknowledge, condemn, and dismantle anti-Asian racism in their schools. Specifically, we hope that action can be taken to 1) ensure we can create an action plan to address the lack of Asian-representation amongst staff in senior administrative levels 2) allocate funding towards professional development and workshops for educators focused on anti-racism and anti-Asian racism 3) initiate changes to the curriculum so that it is representative of the diversity in classrooms and 4) ensure that services such as translation and interpretation are more readily available for parents and students, especially for crucial documents or key school board meetings