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BCTF to donate $50,000 to the UNRWA and joined international calls for an immediate ceasefire as well as the release of all hostages.

Dear colleagues,

While the horrific violence in Israel and Palestine is occurring continents away, we have members here in BC that are hurting and grieving—devastated by the acts of terrorism and war committed against civilians throughout the region. We have also seen unacceptable displays of Islamophobia and antisemitism that must be stopped here at home. Hate speech has no place in Canada.

As teachers, we stand in solidarity with children and young people, their teachers, and other educators across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories who are suffering. They deserve to live lives of dignity, in peace and safety.

In times like this, we need to turn our compassion and solidarity into action. To this end, the BCTF Representative Assembly and Executive Committee both passed motions last week to contribute a total of $50,000 to the emergency appeal of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to bring lifesaving supplies to refugees in Gaza. The UNRWA was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestinian refugees.

At the Executive Committee and Representative Assembly, the Federation’s representatives also voted to add the union’s voice to international calls for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and an end to occupations. Those with the power to do so must take action now to save lives and bring about lasting peace.

My hope, the collective hope of millions across the world, is that the international community can come together to find a path to peace for the people of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. We will be asking the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation to use their voices and take action as well.

For those of you at home here in BC who are struggling under the weight of the news or from the grief of personal connections or acts of racism and antisemitism, please remember that the BCTF has resources available to you to help. You have access to counselling services in your extended benefit plans through the provincial collective agreement. Through your local employer, you also have access to Employee and Family Assistance Plans. The BCTF also runs our own Health and Wellness Program and you have free access the Starling Minds online mental health toolkit. 

Please take care and be safe.

In solidarity,

Clint Johnston

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