BCIT aspires and commits to creating a learning and working environment that is actively engaged in the elimination of racism and discrimination. Following the events of 2020, the Institute realized more work needed to be done to eliminate racism within the BCIT community as well as the broader community.
In July 2020, BCIT President Kathy Kinloch requested that the Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion (RDI) Office develop an Anti-Racism Framework to formalize our processes and align on an action plan focusing on priority areas within the Institute.
“Local and global events over the past year have highlighted the necessity for us all to actively engage in anti-racism work. We hope that implementation of the initiatives within this Framework will help to remove barriers and move us along the path to a more equitable community,” says Shereen Tayles, Associate Director, Respect, Diversity and Inclusion.
Work on the Framework began with the formation an Anti-Racism Committee—which included members of the senior leadership team—and in July 2020, an Anti-Racism Working Group was formed. The Working Group included a diverse group of stakeholders from across the Institute with members from each of the unions, the BCIT Student Association (BCITSA), Indigenous Initiatives, and senior leadership. Supported by consultants from Simon Fraser University (SFU) Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, the Working Group provided leadership and advice and was instrumental in helping to identify areas of strength. The Working Group identified existing resources throughout the Institute as well as key priority areas.
The resulting Framework is the result of months of research and consultation with the RDI Office, Working Group, and members of the BCIT community. Within the Framework, four specific priority areas have been identified; Education and Raising Awareness; Data Collection, Analysis, and Utilization; Human Resources and Policy; and Inclusive Learning Environments. These priorities aim to address racism against Indigenous people, Black and African Diaspora communities, and all other racialized groups including intolerance based on the intersecting identities of ethnicity, country of origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and neurodiversity.
Work has already begun on a number of the priority areas and corresponding initiatives identified in the Framework. As successful anti-racism education requires the transformation of subtle and often unconscious habits, a long-term, collaborative, and integrative approach is needed to implement lasting change. With this in mind, we understand that it will take time, understanding, and patience to achieve our ultimate goal of eliminating racism at BCIT.
“It’s a long-term journey, and we’ll have to challenge ourselves to make sure we are getting it right in the evolving context. Where are we going to be in 10 years? What are we going to know then?” expressed an Anti-Racism Working Group member.
There is much work to be done to eliminate all forms of racism within our community and this work will require transparency, accountability, and a framework with specific actions. While many of the initiatives identified in the Framework will be undertaken by the RDI Office, it is an Institute-wide commitment that requires collaboration with many departments.
We invite you to view the Framework here.