June is a unique month dedicated to celebrating diversity and promoting true inclusivity. It marks the convergence of two periods of recognition: Pride Month and National Indigenous Peoples Month.
Both are celebratory but draw attention to the ongoing journey toward equity and reconciliation. SDG 10 challenges us to reduce inequalities within and among countries, including income inequality, political and social inclusion, discrimination, and representation. It lies at the centre of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The role of colleges and institutes.
Canada’s colleges and institutes understand their critical role in reducing inequalities. As the primary access points to postsecondary education for many equity-deserving groups, we actively engage with community partners to remove barriers to education and promote a culture of respect and inclusion in our spaces. Here are just a few of the many ways colleges and institutes are showing their support this month, and beyond:
- Red Deer Polytechnic, alongside its student’s association and Central Alberta Pride, has demonstrated its support to the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities through a flag-raising ceremony.
- Assiniboine Community College has an Indigenization strategy to instil Indigenous worldviews, knowledge, and perspectives from the diverse Indigenous cultures at every level of our organization.
- Cégep Heritage College has an Indigenizing Project to assist CEGEP teachers in the work of indigenizing the curriculum.
- Sheridan College‘s student union is hosting several community events and offering students an opportunity to take a trip to the Toronto Pride Parade with them on Sunday, June 25.
- Thompson River University provides its community various opportunities to learn about Indigenous people, cultures, histories, and stories of the local Secwépemc people and other Indigenous nations.
- George Brown College‘s Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services promotes fairness, equity, accountability, and transparency year-round.
- Cégep de l’Outaouais has a community of practice that brings together staff to share their knowledge and expertise to bring about changes in their professional practices towards greater inclusivity.
While significant efforts are underway, we continuously seek new ways to address the need to do more. This commitment to equity goes beyond mere obligation. We consider equity an essential component of sustainability. And we are not the only ones who think so. The World Bank highlights that addressing inequalities is vital to eradicating poverty, while the World Health Organization emphasizes that equity is a fundamental determinant of health.
The good news? Access to learning is one of the best ways to reduce inequalities, and the data shows that more and more individuals traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education recognize colleges and institutes as accessible options.
Join us in taking action.
Let us use the month of June as fuel to ignite greater change. Here are some of the ways you can take action:
- Join the 50-30 Challenge, which aims to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and economic prosperity from coast to coast to coast by ensuring everyone has a seat at the table.
- Sign the Indigenous Education Protocol, which underscores the importance of structures and approaches required to address Indigenous peoples’ learning needs and support self-determination and socio-economic development of Indigenous communities.
- Commit to learning about the history of residential schools, listen to survivors’ stories and reflect on our role in creating a better, more equitable future for Indigenous peoples. Here are just a few of the many resources out there to get you started:
And about the diverse experiences and challenges faced by the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by checking out:
- Government of Canada’s 2022 Pride Guide
- Egale Canada Research Papers on topics that reflect the local lived realities of 2SLGBTQI communities in Canada and internationally
- Red River Polytech Pride resources
- Centennial College parent and child Pride resources
Lastly, keep an eye on your inbox as we’ll soon announce the date for this year’s CICan Indigenous Education Symposium.