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‘Fantastic’ program provides anti-racism books for Calgary students

Click to play video: '‘Fantastic’ program provides anti-racism books for Calgary students' ‘Fantastic’ program provides anti-racism books for Calgary students
WATCH: Some Calgary students are getting a great opportunity this Black History Month to share their views on racism. As Gil Tucker reports, it’s part of a new effort that will help all the city’s junior high kids to join the conversation – Feb 24, 2021

A new effort by a Calgary cultural organization will provide books focused on combatting racism to all junior high schools in the city.

Supported by a donor, Wordfest is going to supply copies of several different books to the schools.

The move comes as Wordfest marks Black History Month with a free online presentation, which becomes available Thursday, Feb 25.

Read more: Black History Month: The untold story of ‘Auntie’ Annie Saunders in southern Alberta

The presentation features authors answering questions from students at St. Margaret School in northwest Calgary.

“To have this tied into Black History Month is great,” St. Margaret principal Sean Marchetto said, adding that the students had a wide range of questions for the authors.

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“How can I do better? How can I comfort my friends? How can I make space for other people? And they’re looking for those strategies because they want to make a difference.”

Click to play video: 'Beyond skin deep: One activist’s story fighting racism in Alberta' Beyond skin deep: One activist’s story fighting racism in Alberta
Beyond skin deep: One activist’s story fighting racism in Alberta – Feb 24, 2021

Organizers of the event say they’re encouraged by the students’ commitment to ending racism, and they believe providing books to all of Calgary’s junior high schools will help strengthen the students’ resolve.

Read more: New documentary showcases Black history in the Prairies

“This is a really big deal and making sure that every kid has access to these books is vital,” Wordfest CEO Shelley Youngblut said.

“The key thing here is that it’s the young people that are going to guide us. It’s the young people who are going to get things done.”

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Educators are grateful for the opportunity to share the books with students.

“That’s fantastic,” Marchetto said. “It makes them want to learn more. It makes them want to do more.”

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