York Communities For Public Education (YCFPE) is appalled by a PressProgress report that found Minister of Education Stephen Lecce engaged in deplorable Anti-Black racist behaviour while he was a fraternity leader at Western University. Minister Lecce’s involvement in a slave auction fundraiser raises serious concerns about the Minister’s understanding of Anti-Black racism, and his ability to serve, protect and support students, education workers, and families, particularly those who identify as Black.
YCFPE calls on a Minister of Education who will commit to:
1. Dismantling Anti-Black racism in the education sector in the form of leading systemic change backed by significant dollar commitments.
2. Having zero tolerance for any action that minimizes slavery and trivializes its brutality and harmful impacts.
3. Ensuring Anti-Black racism and other forms of racist oppression will not be tolerated and create opportunities for staff and students to be supported, heard and uplifted in the face of Anti-Black racism.
Racism in all forms is profoundly distressing and hurtful, and an apology that neglects to acknowledge that is insufficient. As an elected official, Minister Lecce must be held to a higher standard. Minister Lecce must apologize for the deep pain and trauma his actions caused, educate himself, deeply reflect, and attempt to make amends to Black Folx and communities, or resign from office.
York Communities for Public Education is a coalition of parents, students, educators, education workers, and community allies who share an interest in maintaining the high standard of publicly-funded education in York Region.