Join panelists, Valerie Jerome, June Francis and Kevin Godden alongside moderators Beth Applewhite and Kenneth Headley for a conversation about anti-Black racism in B.C. Education today.
Drawing from their personal and professional lived experiences, panelists will focus on the actions needed to build anti-racist cultures in education communities. They will invite attendees to challenge conscious and unconscious anti-Black biases and take action to make the system more accountable and inclusive for all. The panel will include a Q&A session with attendees.
This event is hosted in partnership with the British Columbian Black Educational Leaders Association.
Saturday, February 10, 2024
2:30 – 4:30 PM
- Introduction to BC BELA
- Land Acknowledgement and drumming
- National Black Anthem: Live performance
- Panel introductions
- Panel prepared questions
- Panel attendees Q&A
- Song: Live performance
Reception begins at 4:00 PM.
800 Robson St
Valerie Jerome became Canadian senior women’s champion in the sprints and long jump at the age of 15 in 1959 and went on to represent Canada at the 1960 Rome Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, and the Pan American Games.
Away from the track, Jerome has represented the Green Party of British Columbia and is a recipient of the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and a City of Vancouver Heritage Award for her work in conservation. She has also served as a board member for numerous organizations, including Achilles Track & Field, the Black Educators of BC, the Junior Black Achievement Awards, and Vancouver Youth Theatre, and has spoken at numerous schools and community events. She was also a member of the Goh Ballet Academy Board for 12 years and is presently a Board member of the Kidd Pivot Dance and Radical Arts Dance Boards.
Godden has worked in public education for thirty-six years and recently retired as Abbotsford’s Superintendent of Schools/CEO after twelve years in that position. Appointed to the role in 2011 after serving in previous positions such as Deputy Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, Godden's innovative leadership has navigated the school district through exponential growth, the development of a progressive strategic plan and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. His passion for building equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students to feel welcome, included and valued has been a tremendous asset to the school district. Kevin is a founding member of the BC Black Educational Leaders Association Board.
Dr. June Francis, LLB, PhD
• Co-founder, The Co-Laboratorio (CoLab Advantage Ltd.)
• Associate Professor, SFU Beedie School of Business
• Director, SFU Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement
• Special Advisor to the President of Simon Fraser University on Anti-Racism
• Co-founder of the Black Caucus at SFU
• Chair, Hogan’s Alley Society
• Chair, BC’s Provincial Anti-Racism Data Committee
Student Services Department Head at Byrne Creek Community School
Janisha Haywood was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has been an educator for over 15 years. Janisha completed her Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She then went on to complete her Bachelor of Education in 2008. She transitioned from a Biology/Learning support teacher to a school counsellor after completing her Master of Education in Counselling Psychology at UBC. Janisha is passionate about AR work in schools and has sponsored multiple student affinity groups. She believes that an individual's lived experience and sense of identity, in all of its diverse richness, should be compassionately honored throughout the counselling journey. Janisha is a registered member of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.
Jamesley Jerome is a Haitian Canadian teacher candidate. After earning his Art degree at UBC in 2023, he decided to continue his education at the same university for his B.Ed. He played three years of college basketball at Dawson College in Montreal and five years of university basketball at UPEI and UBC. In 2019, Jamesley Jerome was recognized among the All-Rookie Team in the AUS, and he was also honored as the Rookie of the Year at the University of Prince Edward Island. He has been a key addition to the Trevor Williams Basketball Academy, since 2016, a Montreal’s premier summer basketball camp catering to boys and girls aged 6 to 18 years. Run by former basketball Olympian Trevor Williams, the academy provided Jamesley with a platform to share his basketball knowledge with the next generation over six years. He became a role model for multiple high schoolers who looked up to him both on and off the court. In 2017, he was part of La Maisonnée, an organization that supports newcomers in Quebec by providing French lessons, fostering a sense of inclusion, and offering day camp support. His experience at La Maisonnée, coupled with his background in basketball, played a significant role in why he decided to pursue a career in teaching. Currently, he is coaching at Split-Second Academy due to his passion for coaching and teaching.
Beth Applewhite is the District Principal of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Reconciliation with the Burnaby School District. BC-born and raised, Beth is a bi-racial educator of Trinidadian and Scottish heritages. During her 27 years in education, she has been unrelenting in her determination to challenge the status quo and create equitable experiences and spaces that both acknowledge racial bias and celebrate personal and cultural identities. Beth taught in Burnaby for 14 years before becoming a Vice-Principal in Surrey and later in Coquitlam. She recognizes that most folks value diversity, equity and inclusion. The challenge is encouraging them to be vulnerable enough to explore and reflect on their own biases, practices and rituals that contribute to school/district culture. Beth has been recognized for her work, including the BC Lieutenant Governor’s Community Achievement Award (2019). She was nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award (2020) and was nominated for a Premier’s Award in Education (2020/21). She has also been named one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women (2020/2021). Beth is a founding Board member and the inaugural president of the BC Black Educational Leaders Association.
Kenneth Headley is a Caribbean/Black school administrator. He has been an educator for over 12 years and an advocate for marginalized students, their families and their communities. Kenneth focuses on providing meaningful opportunities to discuss issues of racial discrimination with students, parents and educators. Since 2016, he has played an integral role in the success of annual Anti-Racism Youth Symposiums and Black History Month Student Conferences. Kenneth completed his Bachelor of General Studies in Canadian studies and sociology at SFU. He completed his B.Ed at SFU as well as his Master’s Degree in Educational Practice, looking at integrating cultural narratives in the classroom. Kenneth taught in Surrey for 9 years before becoming a Vice-Principal with the Maple Ridge School District in 2018. He has been the District Vice-Principal of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism with the New Westminster School District since August 2022. Kenneth is a founding member of the BC Black Educational Leaders Association Board.
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