Alliance of Educators for Muslims Students (AEMS) Statement: We Remember Our London FamilyWritten by Alliance of Educators for Muslim Students (AEMS)
The Alliance of Educators for Muslim Students (AEMS) is a collective of Educators, Staff & Community dedicated to equity of opportunity, outcomes & justice for Muslim York Region District School Board students & families
Yesterday marked two years since the murders of the London family. That event served as a reminder to the greater public of the vulnerability experienced by Muslim families and individuals, and as a marker of the violence that Islamophobic hate engenders. In the immediate aftermath of that attack, sorrow and compassion were expressed, and, as in the aftermath of the Quebec mosque massacre and the New Zealand mosque massacres, commitments were made to work towards inclusion, understanding, and care.
For those who take note of these dates that so deeply impact Muslim communities, the anniversaries of these events create opportunities for reflection on whether and how those promises have been carried out.. As we look back and reflect on this school year, we consider the ways in which communities of care have been constructed, and to whom they are extended.
We consider the implementation of trauma-informed practices and the care that is extended to students, families and staff of diverse identities in the wake of natural disasters, armed conflicts, and the geopolitical realities and nationalist agendas that have resulted in supremacist violence in places of worship, displacement, and genocide. We recognize that the global is local, and we invite our colleagues to reflect on how those impacted have been supported and how they will continue to be supported - and the ways in which Islamophobia and other forms of hate may impact both access to support and the quality of support offered.
We also continue to consider the ways in which faith accommodations have been made available and accessible over the course of the year, and the ways in which they will be implemented moving forward. We look ahead to Eid and and the faith observances that precede it, and consider the ways in which Muslim students, families, and staff may be excluded from graduation ceremonies, and end-of-year celebrations and practices, or feel that the only way to be included in their school and work communities is by not engaging with their faith observances. We consider the beliefs and biases that result in communities built around exclusion and Othering, or communities that center inclusion and a fostering of Mattering and Belonging.
The Alliance of Educators for Muslims Students extends our gratitude to our colleagues who are striving to ensure that students of all identities are cared for in their classroom and learning spaces. We stand in solidarity this June, and throughout the year, with those who are working to create safety for all who experience marginalization. We know that, at times, this work can be hard, and complex, and that it may be challenged. We also know this work is rooted in love, care, respect, and recognition of the humanity of every person we encounter.
“When teachers teach with love, combining care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust, we are often able to enter the classroom and go straight to the heart of the matter, which is knowing what to do on any given day to create the best climate for learning.” - bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope