Symbols are important and perhaps now, more than ever, they need to be accompanied by action. As we welcome a new group of students into our classrooms, we return to some familiar September traditions. Whether it's creating class agreements, or teaching the procedures that will soon become our daily routines, there are some lessons that need to be taught and retaught at the beginning of each school year.
The same is true when it comes to messages of inclusion and acceptance. September is a great time to revisit the posters on our walls. While these visual symbols are valuable, they are so much stronger when we take the time to explicitly refer to them.
Last year, most members received our updated Brave Space posters. It's an important symbol that tells staff, students, and their families that they are valued and welcome in our schools and in each and every classroom.
Here are some suggestions on how to use our Brave Space poster!
Take it down and then put it back up with your students!
Symbols speak loudest when they are acknowledged. Take a few minutes to put the poster on the wall of your classroom and get your students to help. Talk about why you are putting it up and what it means.
Sample conversation starters could include:
- What does this flag represent?
- Why is it important that we celebrate our differences?
- Why do we need to stand up for one another?
- What connections can you make to this poster?
Read the Tips
The poster includes small but important actions that can be taken to make our classrooms and our communities safer, more inclusive spaces.
What is a Brave Space?
Brave spaces protect the human rights of everyone present. They encourage members to stand up and speak out against hate and discrimination. They also invite learners to share their ideas, beliefs, values, and lived experiences. In a brave space, questions and sharing and discussion are encouraged. Courageous conversations are approached with honesty, sensitivity, and respect. While each person's human rights are not up for debate, a brave space leaves room for honest mistakes and focuses on learning and restorative practices.
The Pride Flag
The ETFO-WR Brave Space poster features the intersex inclusive version of the Progress Pride Flag. In addition to the rainbow stripes of the long-standing pride flag, this flag is explicitly inclusive of black and brown members of the community. White, pink, and blue represent members of the trans community, while the yellow triangle and purple ring acknowledges intersex community members. While still imperfect, this version of the pride flag recognizes intersectional identities, including identities that continue to face marginalization even within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
2S = Two-Spirit
L = Lesbian
G = Gay
B = Bisexual
T = Trans
Q = Queer or Questioning
I = Intersex
A = Asexual or Aromantic
+ = There are many other identities that can describe one's gender or attraction.
Do you have questions? Do you need more posters? Contact Ryan Wettlaufer at [email protected].