March 15, 2019

Peel board staff organize third annual equity summit

​For the third year, staff from the Peel District School Board hosted the We Walk Together: Equity Summit for more than 400 staff in order to access deeper conversations about equity and inclusion. The annual summit allows staff to evaluate their contributions, and work to improve their contributions, to learning environments that celebrate and value all people, narratives and identities.

You can do equity work and liberation at the same time.

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Keynote speaker Rania El Mugammar explore​d themes of identity, womanhood, Blackness, migration, belonging, gender and sexuality. "You can do equity work and liberation at the same time. You can't ask people to wait for a perfect world. But, we can make sure they have what they need to survive in the meantime as we work towards [that perfect world]," says El Mugammar.

We all have our biases. But it's a matter about how we unlearn. How do we become self-aware in a conscious manner?

The summit furthers work of staff around social justice, human rights, anti-racism, equity, and inclusion within the Peel board. In addition to the keynote, staff were able to choose from more than 20 workshops presented by Peel board staff and community members. The workshops included: Bias Awareness, Equitable Leadership, Empowering Modern Learners Through Assessment, Indigenous Perspectives, White Fragility, Poverty and It's Effects and We Rise Together.

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Throughout the keynote, El Mugammar discussed allyship. "Actions we take to confront injustice, whether or not we are acknowledged, celebrated or rewarded for them. Allyship is the work we must do even when it is unseen."

The summit was first organized in 2016 by a small group of Peel board elementary teachers who wanted to provide an opportunity for learning for beginners in equity and inclusion work, along with furthering the conversation for staff who have a deep knowledge and understanding of this work.

"We all have our biases. But it's a matter about how we unlearn. How do we become self-aware in a conscious manner?" says Soni Gill, school effectiveness leader.

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"We hope this equity summit will yield increased student success. This will happen when every single student feels like they truly belong here," Francine Tulloch-Harvey, co-organizer and vice-principal at Walnut Grove and Sir Isaac Brock public schools.

To learn more about Rania El Mugammar, visit www.raniawrites.com.

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