In this July 13, 2020, photo, a black lives matter mural is visible in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which grew out of the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, is formally expanding a $3 million financial relief fund that it quietly launched in February 2021, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Andrew Harnik/AP file photo)

In this July 13, 2020, photo, a black lives matter mural is visible in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which grew out of the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, is formally expanding a $3 million financial relief fund that it quietly launched in February 2021, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Andrew Harnik/AP file photo)

After the rally: Kelowna BLM organizers working to launch diversity curriculum

Paige Harrison and Kermisha Pereira said the work around diversity continues

The work from last summer’s wave of Black Lives Matter (BLM) rallies continues and two Kelowna students want residents to keep it going.

Paige Harrison and Kermisha Pereira co-organized the BLM rally in downtown Kelowna last summer, but the duo say there is more work to be done.

Right after the Kelowna rally, Harrison and Pereira were approached by members of the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society (CAERS), asked to come on board as research assistants.

Now, Harrison and Pereira are helping CAERS put together a toolkit and a separate curriculum to help students, teachers and school districts pinpoint race-related incidents and how to deal with them.

“The goal is to help teachers have the tools to deal with race-related issues better than how they’re doing it now,” Pereira said.

Harrison said in order for people to understand diversity, it must be taught while children are little, which is why they want to work on educational materials geared toward a younger audience.

The toolkit will include information and training materials on how to talk openly to students about diversity and teaching sensitivity and empathy.

“It includes information on how to talk to students about not discriminating against others based on how they look, talk or how they act. For teachers, there will also be more information on how they can deal with race-related incidents,” Pereira said.

But, in order to put together effective training and tools, CAERS needs to find out what tools teachers, educators and businesses have now and what they need to improve them.

Harrison said that part is proving difficult. “There’s very little information shared and right now, it seems that the same protocols for bullying are applied to race-related issues.

“When we personally spoke to people who have dealt with race incidents, it doesn’t seem like there’s much being done about it.”

She added since diversity can be a daunting subject to tackle, schools and organizations may not be as forthcoming with sharing their current strategies, suspicious of being called out and accused of not doing enough, but Harrison says that’s not the case.

“We’re just trying to fix a very serious issue from the inside out,” she said.

Harrison and Pereira said it’s hard work but they have a positive outlook on it. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we just need everyone’s support and we need allies to keep calling their neighbours out or their friends out for being racist or saying racist things,” Pereira said.

“Supporting non-profits like CAERS and people who are working to change the system goes a long way. We also need to support people directly affected by the system, BIPOC, women of colour, trans people of colour,” Harrison added.

Central Okanagan Public Schools communications advisor Justin Schneider said the pair may have gotten in touch with someone at the school district, but he wasn’t able to comment on any communication that may have taken place.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The towns of Osoyoos and Oliver and the Osoyoos Indian Band are beginning to look into the feasibility of a regional aquatic centre. (Metro Creative Graphics)
South Okanagan leaders team up to form aquatic centre committee

Oliver and Osoyoos have long expressed desire for a year-round indoor aquatic centre

The Penticton Farmers Market is gearing up to open April 17 with COVID-19 safety protocols in place including mandatory masks. (Brennan Phillip/file photo)
Penticton Farmers’ Market needs volunteers, prepares for opening day

The Farmers’ Market will return to Main Street April 17

An old faucet. (Pixabay)
‘Wild wild west’ of water has Farleigh Lake resident concerned

Lack of oversight and unclear responsibilities has led to nothing but stress

The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing has hired a new contractor to fix. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
BC Housing begins fixing issues at two Keremeos housing projects

The new plan is to have the units ready for residents by the summer

Slackwater Brewing, on Martin Street, is hoping this warm, sunny weather will bring out people to their patio and rooftop patio as do the dozens of other restaurants in town counting on patio visits during these difficult times. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Perfect patio weather brings perfect chance to help out Penticton restaurants

City boasts more than 30 patios to choose from, with more patios coming downtown soon

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

RCMP cruiser, no date.
Threats against RCMP lead to high-risk situation in Ashcroft

Distraught man made threats directed at police, potentially had access to firearms

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $82M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

A Canada goose honks at other birds at Salish Park on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Goose addling program underway in Vernon

2021 cull applications in process as addling program enters 15th year

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)

Most Read