Less than two months after forming the Fredericton chapter of Black Lives Matter, organizers have teamed up with the University of New Brunswick to help bring more Black history into New Brunswick public schools.
Husoni Raymond, one of the chapter's founders, said the organization wanted a short-term solution after speaking with government officials and realizing how long updating the provincial curriculum could take.
"We wanted to have both a long-term plan to have meaningful incorporation of Black history within the curriculum but also a short term project so that we could have something for the immediate future before Black History Month hits again," said Raymond.
Alicia Noreiga-Munderoy, a PhD student at UNB, brought the idea of creating a resource for New Brunswick teachers to the faculty in the university's education department.
She came to Fredericton from Trinidad and Tobago two years ago to start her PhD at UNB. She said she's had some challenging experience with a lack of inclusivity for Black people. She's hopeful this project can begin to change that.
"This is a wonderful place, I love it. From the first time I came here I knew it was somewhere I could see myself remaining," she said. "It would be an honour to be able to be part of a group that is working towards making New Brunswick more inclusive."
The department agreed to work with Noregia-Munderoy to create a website with resources to help teachers bring Black history to students.
She said UNB was happy to help.
"They weren't hesitant at all to offer the assistance. They too understand and recognize the need for this to be addressed."
Casey Burkholder, an assistant professor in the education faculty, is working with Noregia-Munderoy on the project. Burkholder is using remaining funds from previous projects to push the development forward.
Noregia-Munderoy said they're also applying for grants to get additional money.
"This is a very important issue and one that we hope stakeholders and the community come together to help us with progressing."
The website will feature worksheets, lesson plans and films that deal with issues within the Black community in New Brunswick.
"This website will be available for everyone, but we are specifically targeting teachers in hopes that they would be able to assess these things and integrate it into their classroom activities."
Noregia-Munderoy said she wants to get resources out as soon as possible and is hoping for an official launch in time for Black History Month next February..
Raymond said he's pleased with the progress Black Lives Matter Fredericton has made in such a short time.
He said providing teachers with the ability to teach Black History before it's included in the curriculum is an exciting step for everyone.
"We recognize that combating ignorance is one of the main ways in which we can combat racism and we want to attack racism on all fronts here in New Brunswick."