HWETL Executive Open Letter on Anti-Black Racism
Dear Members of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local and to the Communities in which we work, and live,
The Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local (HWETL) is a Union dedicated to fostering a climate of social justice and to providing a leadership role in such areas as anti-poverty, non-violence, and equity. The teachers of our Union strive to recognize, understand, and address anti-black racism, and all forms of discrimination and inequity each day in their classrooms, school yards, and virtual classrooms. Yet, there is more to do. Much more.
HWETL recognizes that it needs to take greater action for its own members, and for those in our community, who are the victims of Anti-Black Racism. We will commit to re-affirming and increasing our efforts to eliminate Anti-Black Racism.
The 2300 teachers of HWETL know, and call upon our community to accept, that an injustice suffered by anyone somewhere, is an injustice to all everywhere. Individual and systemic Anti-Black racism must not be allowed to continue. It must be eliminated so that we all can be safe and free to enjoy the benefits of a civil society. More importantly Anti-Black Racism must not be allowed to target and cause harm to those fellow members of our community who are hurt by it on a daily basis.
It would be a mistake to believe that anti-black racism is an issue of another place, or of another time. It exists now, and in our community. It is a false comfort to believe that the systemic and individual cases of anti-black racism that have been witnessed thorough our media recently, and in the past, could not happen in Hamilton-Wentworth, and do not happen in Hamilton-Wentworth. Many, in our community, encounter and suffer from these injustices each and every day in their schools, workplaces, and neighbourhoods. It must end.
Join in the fight to end Anti-Black Racism. Learn about Anti-Black Racism, and question your own beliefs and actions. Speak up, privately and publicly, and demand systemic changes in our society. Vote for candidates that recognize and address the issue. Become active and seek out allies in the efforts to eliminate inequities wherever they exist. Stand up and oppose Anti-Black Racism when you witness it.
At this already difficult time, our thoughts and feelings go out to the known victims of Anti-Black racism such as George Floyd, and their families and friends, as well as those victims whose names we do not yet know.
Together, we can work towards a better community, and world, for all of our students, and all of your children to learn, grow, and live.
Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local Executive
The Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local is comprised of approximately 2,200 Elementary Teachers employed by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. HWETL is an affiliate of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and as such is a professional organization dedicated to safeguarding and advancing the cause of publicly funded education while advocating for the interests and well being of its members. HWETL is also a labour union determined to secure and maintain fair and reasonable collective bargaining rights for its members. HWETL strives for membership involvement, while providing professional and personal services for all Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers. Recognizing and respecting diversity allows this organization to act as a unified body to fulfill its mandate of service for all members and the community.
105 Nebo Road
Hamilton Ontario L8W 2E1
Office Manager: Carleigh Hochheimer (Email)
President – Jeff Sorensen Email
Chief Negotiator/Grievance Officer – Heather Aggus Email
Vice President – Tania Kerr Email
Vice President – Michelle Konior Email
Vice President – Michelle Pickett-Hershey Email
Treasurer – Kim Dichazi (Yorkview) Email
Secretary- Peter Weaver (Hillcrest) Email
Roger Anderson (Huntington Park)
Nancy Coffer (Tiffany Hills)
Heidi Flemming (Lawfield)
Heather Fudge (Queen Mary)
Cindy Gangaram (Ryerson)
Carla Sikora (Chedoke)
Sajah Stiller (System)