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Finally, real help for white people to become anti-racist.
FOR RELEASE: TUESDAY FEBRUARY 1, 2005
TORONTO - Today, the start of Black History month, marks the launch of a publication that seeks to put tools and skills into the hands of average Canadians to combat racism. For the first time, white Canadians are the targets of a publication to end racism. The booklet, Expanding the Circle: People who care about ending racism, is a response to the ongoing denial and minimization that well-intentioned white people display when they are challenged about racism.
The author, Ann Curry-Stevens, says "I think this booklet is timely as the Toronto Police Department struggles with allegations of racial profiling and the Saskatoon Police Department confronts the dangerous, racist and perhaps murderous behaviour of members of its force. We have also just come from arduous years of overcoming the racial ignorance of our former mayor. At times, we have been profoundly embarrassed by the racist and ignorant behaviour of our politicians and policy leaders. It's also a very significant issue for educators. In classrooms across the city and the country, white students often object angrily to allegations that they might be responsible for racism. Educators struggle with this resistance almost daily."
It is written by Ann Curry-Stevens, Education and Research Associate with the Centre for Social Justice and educator with 13 years of experience helping students and adult learners become activists and allies in social justice struggles. This resource offers help to convince white people that racism exists and that white people are invested in avoiding such conversations. Gently and persuasively, this booklet presents difficult information and support to whites in letting down the usual defenses that stall progress. It points out how racism hurts white people and how notions of faith and justice can help motivate us towards an anti-racist reality. It maps out many possible actions that white people can take to work in solidarity with people of colour and to take action in their own families and neighbourhoods, workplaces and more broadly in society.
The Transformative Learning Centre at OISE/UT is a partner in this publication, believing that working with the agents of racism is timely and compelling: "We know that there are many white people who are interested in fighting racism, and need encouragement and support in their learning," says Daniel Schugurensky, Director of the TLC. Other partners include the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. It has also been funded through the Access and Equity Grant Program with the City of Toronto.
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"Expanding the Circle: People who care about
ending racism" is available through the Centre for Social Justice
(www.socialjustice.org, where the booklet can be purchased online
or downloaded for free),
Copies are $5. It is also available in French.
David Langille, Director, Centre for Social