Kids wear black to school to promote anti-racism during first-ever 'Black Shirt Day'
Published Friday, January 15, 2021 5:12PM PST Last Updated Saturday, January 16, 2021 11:32AM PST
VANCOUVER -- Organizers of the first-ever Black Shirt Day at B.C. schools are calling it a success.
“We are overwhelmed with the reception Black Shirt Day has had,” said Kamika Williams, of the Anti-Racism Coalition of Vancouver. “It has been amazing and it has spread across Canada, New Zealand and Germany.”
Williams is one of the organizers who picked Jan. 15 to encourage students to wear black shirts to school to push for more Black history education in their curriculums.
“It’s also a day to spread awareness of the ongoing struggle that Black and racialized Canadians have faced for hundreds of years,” Williams said.
She added the 15th was also chosen because it is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Vancouver School Board said it supported the initiative and several schools in the city participated.
According to the VSB, students at Tyee Elementary and Elsie Roy Elementary took a lead in promoting the day.
In an emailed statement to CTV News Vancouver, a spokesperson with B.C.’s Ministry of Education said “we applaud all efforts to promote anti-racism and celebrate diversity in our province.”
The ministry said it has not had a formal request to officially recognize Jan. 15 as Black Shirt Day in schools but encourages organizers to reach out for further discussions.
"B.C.’s curriculum supports the teaching of Black history topics, such as the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Underground Railroad," the statement said. "But we understand that there is more work to be done to ensure an anti-racism lens is core in B.C.'s curriculum. That’s why we are working with representatives of the B.C. Black History Awareness Society to identify teacher and student resources."