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

Firefighters battled a burning home on farmland in the north end of Vernon Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Homeowner taken to hospital after Vernon home destroyed by fire

Firefighters engaged in a lengthy battle against the engulfed structure Saturday afternoon

The Regional District of North Okanagan has purchased a watercraft to be used by the BC Conservation Officer Service, who will conduct enhanced boat patrols on the Shuswap River during the 2021 floating season. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Boat purchased to provide enhanced Shuswap River oversight this floating season

The regional district purchased an extra watercraft to be used by Conservation Officers this year

The West Kelowna Warriors beat the Vernon Vipers 3-2 in BCHL action Friday, April 16, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
West Kelowna goaltender stymies Vernon Vipers for 3-2 win

The Warriors were outshot 44-23 Friday night, but it didn’t bother Johnny Derrick

A group of youth in Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park are suspected as having violated the B.C. Wildlife Act by harassing a pair of nesting bald eagles with a drone Friday, April 16, 2021. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Nesting bald eagles harassed by youth-piloted drone in Kelowna

Conservation Officers are hoping to hear from anyone who witnessed the Knox Mountain incident

Nick Clements captured a photo of the Northern Lights over Oyama Friday night, April 16, 2021. (Nick Clements photo)
PHOTOS: Northern Lights colour Okanagan night

Residents saw the dazzling green aurora borealis throughout the valley Friday night

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read