March marks a full year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a year that has been incredibly stressful and difficult, especially for those who work on the front lines.
From the Editor
The middle of March marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For Voice, it is a year that started by connecting the pandemic to both systemic equity issues and climate justice and one that ends by revisiting these questions with this spring issue. It is a year that has been marked by educators and others pushing the government to invest in the health and safety of students and educators in our public schools, a year of recognizing the long-term systemic inequities that were laid bare and exacerbated by the pandemic and a year of collective action on many fronts.
As we finally arrive at the spring and can perhaps begin to see a way out of this pandemic, we turn our sights towards change in Ontario. As President Hammond writes in his column, “What we need in the months and years ahead is public investment, not cuts to public services. We need a government that prioritizes the well-being of Ontarians instead of the demands of corporate lobbyists, that makes paid sick days and respect for all workers a reality and that is committed to a fully public high-quality long-term care system in Ontario. We need a government that values our public schools and every single educator who has been holding public education together through this once-in-a-century pandemic.”
Making connections between systems of oppression and climate justice is a key argument in this issue’s feature interview with youth climate activist Savi Gellatly-Ladd. “In order to adequately fight against the climate crisis,” she says, “we must look beyond short-term, temporary fix solutions. If there is to be meaningful change, we must focus on the systems that are causing the problems in the first place. The climate crisis is produced by capitalism, colonialism and white supremacy. It is the racist, colonial systems, along with their exploitation and extraction of natural resources for profit, that is harming life on Earth.”
In our feature article, From COVID to Climate Change: Lessons of a Current Crisis to Inform the Next, Sarah Lowes argues “Understanding climate science is not our biggest hurdle; inaction has put civilization on the precipice of a perilous future. It is our responsibility as teachers, community leaders, partners in science and public educators to leverage our skills to compel our governments and communities to take action on climate change.” Students and communities taking action is a key theme of Michaela Kargus’ article Going Beyond the Green Team, where she chronicles the lobbying and organizing efforts led by her students and her school community.
While this issue has a strong climate justice thread, it also includes excellent articles on coding, using Google Meet to build virtual community when in-person events aren’t possible, going beyond the land acknowledgement in our work for Reconciliation and ETFO’s new resources to challenge anti-Black racism.
Happy spring everyone! Here’s to looking forward together.
– Izida Zorde
Throughout the past several months, ETFO members have shown incredible resilience, professionalism and caring, working to provide excellent public education to students across the province under very difficult circumstances.