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Message from the Chair – April 2024

In June we focus on our value of celebration and there are many opportunities to practice and demonstrate our value of celebration this month. One of the celebrations that has become increasingly important during my time on the Board is Pride. And June is Pride month!

Submitted by Chair Amanda Amaral

April 10, 2024


Committing to diversity as a strength and inclusion as a right.

In April we explore the fourth and final new value of the Sunshine Coast Board of Education—Equity.

Equity is associated with fairness and justice. As our society evolves and changes, so has our interpretation of what equity is. As a community we have recognized that many things we saw as fair, equal and just in the past simply are not. We have moved from intentional exclusion by definition, such as not recognizing women as people or the definition that marriage is between a male and female, to unintentional exclusion, where participation or access is limited because there is no explicit expectation or law that requires accommodation, such as not having universal washrooms or the exclusive availability of essential information through smartphone apps.

We have recognized that large portions of our populations were excluded from accessing service and supports intended and believed to be for all because we are not attuned to the needs of others that are different from us. The groups of people that have been systematically excluded, and the ones we need to be most conscious of in our decision making, are those now protected by Human Rights: Indigenous identity, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and age.

When we reflect on the intention of our value it makes sense that we have defined equity as “committing to diversity as a strength and inclusion as a right”. However, even once we have everything in place where we can create equity, we still have work to do in our relationship understanding what equity looks and feels like in practice. Committing to diversity means we want people to sound differently, look differently, and act differently when they have a seat at the table. We want this because we make better decisions with diversity.

As we action this value, we will make mistakes and we will fall into our old habits and ways of thinking. When this happens, it does not mean we do not care or have lost our way; it means we need some extra help to better understand what equity means in this context or that we need to keep practicing for it to become habit. It is not for one person, or one group of people, to hold up. Equity takes all of us to build and maintain. Equity is hard work, hard work that the Sunshine Coast Board of Education is ready to do.

Amanda Amaral 


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