What's in your backpack?

CCRSB News: 
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Let's talk about Class

Every day, each one of us carries an invisible backpack. That backpack is filled with all of the things that make us who we are. For some of us, that backpack can be really heavy. 

CCRSB’s Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights Social Justice Framework helps us to understand what’s in another person’s backpack, and compels us all to approach one another with compassion, empathy and respect. 

The Social Justice Framework identifies five pillars that might be in our backpacks: Race, Class, Gender, Sexual Orientation and Abilities. These pillars fill our backpacks all the time, but sometimes one pillar can feel heavier than others. During the month of December, it may be Class that is weighing us down. 

The pillar of Class deals with many issues, including access to opportunities in housing and employment, which are affected by and tied to how much money we have and the advantages that money can provide. For families who are struggling financially, this time of year can be very difficult. Our collective focus on buying and giving during December creates added pressure and increases the weight of some people’s backpacks. 

CCRSB schools and offices work year-round to address the issue of Class. Our staff are involved in professional learning about Social Justice and equality, and students are actively raising money, and collecting food and clothing for those in need. Most CCRSB schools offer a free breakfast program for students and many are engaged in clothing swaps and toy exchanges.

It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same advantages. We need to focus on our relationships with one another and celebrate the joy that each of us can bring to another person’s day. 

By focusing on positive relationships and celebrating the good things in our lives – like friendship and school activities – we can all help to make another person’s backpack a little bit lighter.