In my previous post on activism in the classroom, I mentioned my approach of throwing support behind campaigns that are led and supported by Indigenous peoples.
Have a Heart Day is always the first campaign that comes to my mind when teachers ask me about actions they can take with their students. This campaign is designed to bring awareness to the under funding of education and child services for First Nations children in Canada, and to bring all students in across the country together to speak out against those injustices.
It is organized by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, which is headed by Cindy Blackstock (Gitxsan). Each year it takes place on February 14, and the campaign suggests actions that schools and students can take on their website such as sending Valentine cards in support of Have a Heart Day to the Prime Minister or your local MP (remember, postage to these folks is free!), hosting a party to raise awareness, viewing documentaries or other related resources with your students, and using their social media hashtags #HaveaHeartDay #JourneeAyezUnCoeur to bring awareness to the campaign. Explore the website to find more templates, suggestions, and information!
If you are in the Ottawa area - you can also join other students and organizers on Parliament Hill to rally for the equal funding of Indigenous education and child welfare in Canada. If you are thinking of going with your students, you can click here to learn about the timing, see a map of washrooms for your students, and learn about weather precautions that are in place. If you plan on attending, tell the organizers by contacting Daxton at: firstname.lastname@example.org
EXCITING UPDATE! The Minister of Indigenous Services recently announced plans to immediately increase funding to child welfare services - an important development you can speak to your students about! With your students consider: how can the government be kept accountable to this promise? How will the Canadian public know that they are fulfilling the promise? What other steps need to be taken by the government? By communities?