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The Education Minister Is Pushing To Include Canadian Black History In BC Schools

B.C. is looking to change up what kids are learning in school. On Tuesday, June 2, B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming told the public that he's pushing to include more Canadian black history in school curriculums. And he's already got the process off the ground. 

A member of the media called into the press conference on June 2 and asked whether the B.C. government supports black history being added to the curriculum. The reporter said that the B.C. Community Alliance is advocating for this change. 

"Thank you for the question, it's very timely," said the minister. 

"As a matter of fact, I've just drafted a letter this morning to the B.C. Black History Association, an organization I've worked with before becoming the Minister of Education, and certainly during my time in this position, around curriculum materials and learning units that are available now," said Fleming. 

He said that every February the province celebrates B.C.'s Black History Month.

He added that the organization has put out a call in the past about "additional learning opportunities around the rich history of the black community in British Columbia."

"Given what we're seeing, not just in the United States, but the rise of racism even during this pandemic, which you've heard the premier, a number of my colleagues, including myself, speak out about," he said. 

The Education Minister said that the government funds a number of anti-racism initiatives through their race program. 

He said that a lot of kids are coming back to school right now and are interested to resume learning about various subjects. 

"But a lot of them are really interested in talking about current events, including what we're seeing in the United States right now. And the demonstrations of solidarity we've seen in Canada," he said. 

"I've written a letter to the B.C. Black History Association to make this, if you will, a teachable moment, how we can strengthen the curriculum ties to learn about the multicultural history including the history of the black community in British Columbia," said Fleming. 

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests have swept the country

Annette Henry, a professor from the faculty of education as well as the Social Justice Institute at UBC said to CBC News that one of the ways people learn who they are on a human level is through what they learn at school.

She also said it's critical that black children get to see themselves represented in their education.