Let’s come together

It is with heavy hearts that we open this email with the tragic news of a terrorist attack in London, Ontario killing four members of a Muslim family and leaving a 9 year old boy orphaned.

As Yusuf Siraj with the Islam Unravelled Anti-Racism Initiative said this week:

“If you feel attacked, or targeted, and no one stands up for you – no one’s there to say that’s wrong, we don’t approve that, we don’t accept that – then people might start think that this belief is mainstream when it is not.”  

With this in mind, here are three ways you can stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and support anti-racism:

    •    Attend the second Vancouver vigil to remember the victims and challenge extremist ideologies TONIGHT – Thursday, June 10 at 7pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
    •    Tell your political representatives to support the National Council of Canadian Muslims’ calls for an immediate National Action Summit on Islamophobia, to dismantle systemic and violent forms of Islamophobia.
    •    Share or donate to the fundraiser set up by extended family for the Muslim community through the Salman Family Sadaqa Jariya Fund.

Next week we will begin sharing a series of emails celebrating Indigenous Heritage month. We encourage you, as parents, to bring some or all of these stories to your kids. And we hope you find these resources and suggestions for action are helpful as we each find our own ways to understand, honour and build a safer, more inclusive and equitable school and community.  

The next Hastings Anti-racism Committee (HARC) meeting will be held next Monday, June 14th from 7-8pm on Zoom. All Hastings parents and guardians are welcome to attend every meeting. Zoom link here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83701847394?pwd=aWhXMXA4S0kzbFlJaGEvN2lwMWRrUT09.

Every Child Matters

The following statement may be triggering to some: the content is about Residential School.  If you are triggered please seek out your personal/local support systems, take care of you and/or speak to an Elder.For support you can also call the national Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 or go to ementalhealth.ca.

Dear parents and caregivers,

As many of you have heard, last week, theTk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation shared the tragic news that a mass grave of 215 children had been discovered at the former Kamloops Residential School. The violence, abuse and trauma that was systemic within the residential schools is well documented, and the discovery of this unmarked mass grave is only further evidence of the genocide that is a stark part of current  Canadian history.

This is not a thing of the past. These unmarked graves were found last week – in the present. The last residential school closed in 1996 and the effects of  schools have resulted in severe personal and intergenerational trauma still felt today. The separation of Indigenous children from their families continues through the child welfare/foster system where Indigenous children are hugely overrepresented. In 2018, Indigenous children represented 52.2% of those in the child welfare system but only accounted for 7.7% of the overall Canadian child population (Government of Canada, 2018). Further, there are more children in the child welfare system today in Canada than at the height of residential schools. The right to self-determination continues to be denied.

As the Hastings Anti-racism Committee (HARC), we acknowledge the long road that we have to go as a school community towards fully understanding the truth of Canada’s history, the racism that continues today and towards reconciliation with all Indigenous people. While we intend to listen well and follow the lead of Indigenous elders, leaders and communities, we can start by honouring the families of the 215 children, to those who were witness to the abuse and death at the Residential School and all residential schools, and to all those who were affected and continue to be affected by the legacy of colonial violence. Every child matters –  Indigenous children must be celebrated, supported. We commit to taking ongoing action towards healing and towards the elimination of all forms of racism.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has 94 calls to action, including 6 which directly relate to the residential school systems, missing children and burials, and demand a clear plan to tell families where their lost loved ones are buried and make sure cemeteries are well maintained. There are many more actions that are needed, and we will continue to amplify the calls for justice from Indigenous peoples — not just in moments like these, but always.

We know that Hastings Elementary has been engaged in some different activities to honour the 215 dead children found at the Kamloops Residential School, including groups of feathers coloured by the students, wearing orange, and discussions in class. We also want to encourage the parent community to take part in this week of honouring and acknowledging these children and all their relations, and we have included a few resources below for you to deepen your understanding and support your conversations.

Take Action:
    •    Join the calls for a National Day of Mourning 
    •    Donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society
    •    Donate to the Urban Native Youth Assoc through Iron Dog Books
    •    Settlers Take Action – On Canada Project

Resources for adults:
    •    Overview of the Indian Residential School System
    •    Indigenous Children and the Child Welfare System in Canada
    •    Calls to Action Accountability: A 2020 Status Update on Reconciliation
    •    The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Reports
    •    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action
    •    Residential School Survivors’ Stories
    •    BCIT – Indigenous Awareness

Resources for children:

    •    When I was Eight – Authors: Christy Jordan- Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
    •    When We Were Alone – Author: David A. Robertson
    •    Not My Girl – Authors: Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
    •    Stolen Words – Author: Melanie Florence

Government of Canada. (2018, November 30). Government of Canada, with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation leaders, announce co-developed legislation will be introduced on Indigenous child and family services in early 2019 [News release]. https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada/news/2018/11/government-of-canada-with-first-nations-inuit-and-metis-nation-leaders-announce-co-developed-legislation-will-be-introduced-on-indigenous-child-and.html

Drum Roll Please!

Well, the Hastings Elementary Diversity Book Drive has come to an end and what a fantastic success it’s been!

The Hastings Elementary Diversity Book Drive!

The book suggestions came in fast and furious in the last week and a total of 211 incredible books were suggested!! The link to the list is below. Included on the list is the title, author, intended age level and a little about why it’s included on the list. If you suggested a book and it’s not on the list, don’t worry – it’s already in the library! We encourage you to take a look through and use it as a resource to find your next favorite books.

Check out the suggested titles here!

As for the donation side of things, not only did we meet our fundraising goal of $4000, we FAR exceeded it – a total of $5791.24 was raised!!!!

Here’s a breakdown of the donations:School Cash Online – $4325Iron Dog – $1266.24 ($548.38 in books purchased + $717.86 donated to the book drive account) Orca Publishing donation – $200

Our librarian, Erin, is already hard at work ordering books from the list and although there will be a new librarian at Hastings next year, they will start the year putting many of the suggested books on to the library shelves for the first time. We would like to thank Erin for all her enthusiastic and hard work on this project. We wish her all the best at her next school! Thank you, Erin!!

And a special thanks goes to our community bookstore partner, Iron Dog Books – whoot, whoot! They have been a fantastic resource and support for the book drive and we know that many people enjoyed purchasing books at the store that will go directly on to the Hastings library shelves. If you haven’t been to Iron Dog yet, GO and say hi to Hilary and her fantastic staff. They also have a rich selection of puzzles for all you puzzlers. Iron Dog Books – 2671 E. Hastings St

Good work, Hastings Elementary community! So many people were involved – from those setting up the online polls, making and hanging posters, making donations, making suggestions. Thank you to everyone who contributed to make this a success!

Wishing you all a lovely and sunny long weekend!

PAC Meeting Tomorrow! Agenda Here

We will be joined by our Teacher Librarian Erin to recap the Diversity Book Drive, our Principal and Vice Principal, who will give reports on school happenings, and a presentation of an important initiative by the Hastings Anti-racism Committee (HARC)! 

All parents and guardians of Hastings School students are welcome and encouraged to attend. We very much hope you will join us.


The Hastings School Parent Advisory Council is having a general meeting on Tuesday, May 18th from 7-8:30pm, on Zoom.

Please find the meeting agenda HERE (179kb pdf)
Please find the minutes from the April meeting HERE (289kb pdf)

See you there!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 832 2360 7551
Passcode: 462770

May PAC Meeting

The Hastings School Parent Advisory Council is having a general meeting on Tuesday, May 18th from 7-8:30pm, on Zoom. All parents and guardians of Hastings School students are welcome!

We will be joined by our Teacher Librarian Erin to recap the Diversity Book Drive as well as our Principal and Vice Principal, who will give reports on school happenings and important information pertaining to our children and their education.

Complete agenda will be sent out closer to the date.

We hope to see you there!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 832 2360 7551
Passcode: 462770

DPAC Meeting

The District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) will be hosting a presentation on Thursday, May 27th at 7pm for Asian Heritage Month. Challenging Racist BC — 150 Years and Counting

Join the DPAC for Elimin8Hate’s presentation at DPAC May General:

Community advocates will be speaking against the rise of anti-Asian racism in Vancouver, Canada and globally. This session will provide an overview of the work many groups are doing to address anti-Asian, anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism. Several of the “Challenging Racist BC” authors — https://www.challengeracistbc.ca/ — will discuss and answer questions about their work, and a BCTF Anti-Oppression Educators Collective member will talk about how using enhanced digital edition of the book can be an effective teaching tool. Finally, the concept of the model minority will be explored in the context of how it can harm students.

Body Science Parent Information Session–FREE, Registration Required

Each year, students in all elementary grades throughout BC receive instruction in sexual health education. Some schools bring in experts in the field to compliment and reinforce the content that is being delivered by teachers.

We are excited to inform you that this year Hastings PAC has organized for Saleema Noon Sexual Health Educators to be presenting to students through class-based online workshops as well as a LIVE evening Zoom presentation for parents by Sarah Maitland! In this session, Sarah will give an overview of student presentations and, using humor and straight talk in an open, interactive environment, will show parents how easy it is to convey healthy, meaningful messages about sex and growing up to children.
Please join us on Monday, June 7th via Zoom 6:30pm-8pm for Body Science Parent Information session.
Tickets are FREE but pre-registration is required through Eventbrite.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY of the Hastings Elementary Library Diversity Book Drive!!!

Ways to donate:
    1.    Visit Iron Dog Books at 2671 E Hastings St and purchase one of the librarian pre-selected books OR contribute to the in-store Hastings Book Drive account (no donation is too small!).
    2.    Contribute using the School Cash Online donation form (select Hastings PAC as the fund destination and note that it is for the book drive in the message section).
And keep those book suggestions coming, by using this form!
A huge THANK YOU to everyone that has participated and supported this meaningful and important initiative for our school!

And please join us for the next general PAC meeting where our Teacher Librarian Erin Rickbeil @crafty_librarian_teaches will give us the scoop on the challenges and successes of the Book Drive as well as the process of removing offensive and appropriated content from our library shelves…