Happy Indigenous Heritage Month!

And now message from HARC… 

As we did for Black History Month, the PAC’s Hastings Anti-Racism Committee (HARC) will be sending out a series of emails to celebrate Indigenous Heritage Month. We encourage you, as parents, to bring some or all of these stories to your kids. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

1. Haida artist, Tamara Bell, started the growing memorial on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery – placing 215 pairs of childrens’ shoes, in tribute to the remains found by the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation at the residential school there. Above the memorial, a sign reads,

‘Know more than the names of the land. We are past the point of gratitude. It’s time to commit to more than live, work and play.’

A land acknowledgement rolls easily off most people’s tongues but how much do you know about the people you are thanking?
Learn more about the…

Musqueam Nation 
Tsleil Waututh Nation – People of the Inlet
Squamish Nation

2. Abigail Echo-Hawk, of the Pawnee Nation, and the chief research officer at the Seattle Indian Health Board, asked for PPE to help protect the community from Covid-19. She received something very different and turned it into an act of resistance and resilience.

Read the Story

3. Speaking of fashion, Supernaturals Modelling, is the first Indigenous Modelling Agency.

Learn More

4. Let’s stay in the fashion category…Christian Allaire, member of the Ojibwe Nation and a writer for Vogue magazine, has just released his first book – “The Power of Style – How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures.”

Learn More

5. Kaniehti:io Horn, member of the Mohawk Nation, hosts a new podcast – ‘Telling Our Twisted Histories,’ in which Indigenous stories are decolonized and retold.

Learn More

6. A month-long gathering and showcase of Indigenous Performing Arts and Indigenous artists has already begun as the Talking Stick Festival (TSF) continues its 20th Anniversary celebrations!

Did you know June is also Filipino Heritage Month AND Pride Month?! SO many people and stories to celebrate!! 

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!

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…

Only 4 DAYS LEFT in the Hastings Elementary Library Diversity Book Drive

It’s been another great week for the book drive and we only have a few days left. So far, over 150 book suggestions have come in and over $1800 has been raised! Great work so far, Hastings – can we reach our goal of $4000 by the end of the week?!

We were in the news, again – this time with CBC Radio-Canada!

And make sure to follow librarian Erin on Insta to see some of the new books being added to the library – @crafty_librarian_teaches.

May is Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, with many fantastic events happening online and throughout the city. Here are a few of the book drive suggestions and recent additions to the library by Asian authors…..

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang – Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong. Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale – Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is–and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim – One lie snowballs into a full-blown double life in this irresistible story about an aspiring stand-up comedian. On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her “Yu-MEAT” because she smells like her family’s Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she’s reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage.

Last Night At the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo – America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father–despite his hard-won citizenship–Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

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!

Ways to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month….

Speaking of our favorite local book store, they are the official bookstore for LiterAsian – a festival celebrating Asian writers.

VIFF is streaming five movies by Asian Canadians filmmakers.

In the early to mid-20th century, the Powell Street corridor was the home of 8000 Japanese Canadians and over 400 businesses in Vancouver. Take a socially-distanced walking tour of historic Powell St and learn more!

Don’t forget – the last day of the book drive is THIS FRIDAY!!! ❤?❤?

HARC Meeting Tonight!

The next Hastings Anti-racism Committee (HARC) meeting will be held tonight – Monday, May 10th from 7-8pm on Zoom. All Hastings parents and guardians are welcome to attend every meeting. Zoom link here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88979477672?pwd=QXVhcUY3Ymkwb2RZaEdFSmJCalBPdz09
On the agenda:- Land acknowledgment – Check-in – Updates from subgroups – All-Nations Room – New agenda – Adjourn meeting at 8 PM

We hope to see you there!

We’re In the News! Book Drive Update!

Well, it’s been an exciting week for the Hastings Diversity Book Drive – let’s get updated on all that’s happened….


Orca Book Publishers heard about our book drive and has donated $200 for our librarian to use toward any of the books that they publish! https://www.orcabook.com/Home.aspx 

And local, young author Esabella Strickland, has donated a signed copy of her fantasy novel about a girl with a learning disability to our library! https://www.genzpublishing.org/product/orabella-the-oracle-1-then-and-there-here-and-where/ 

Our total funds raised so far is $1100(!!), including the donation from Orca Books. Our goal is $4000 by May 14th – that’s the end of next week! Let’s see if we can get there!

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! Over 140 incredible books have been suggested so far. Wow – what a week! Let’s keep it up Hastings!