On October 14 the people of Vancouver will have the opportunity to cast their ballots in a municipal by-election. Up for grabs are one council seat, and nine seats on the Vancouver school board. The importance of neither can be overstated, but I am running for Vancouver school board because I believe we need to set a new course for public education in our city. Too many students are being left behind.
I believe passionately in a public education system that works for all. We need to support every student: our athletes, and our mathematicians, our artists and our Indigenous, our LGBTQ+ students and those with special needs. I will fight for every student.
As a guest lecturer at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and Capilano University, I address issues facing marginalized and vulnerable populations. I did the same as an expert witness at the Oppal Commission of Inquiry on Missing Women, which led to many important changes in policy and direction at the City of Vancouver. I also created the “Picture of Healing” program at the Aboriginal Mother Centre, which aimed to reduce the barriers faced by at-risk Indigenous youth.
For almost 40 years I’ve fought for my community, seeking to bring people together, embrace change, and tackle the most pressing issues of our time. This is the kind of experience and determination that I will bring with me to the Vancouver school board. I believe we need to work cooperatively and effectively to strengthen public education in our city, but we should never be shy to speak loudly and forcefully in defence of our values.
I am passionate about making sure that our schools are safe and positive spaces for our students to learn and grow, and I am committed to removing barriers that stand in the way of fostering the best environment for our students.
To that end, I will promote the adoption of a boardwide antibullying campaign, support the reinstatement of the elementary band and strings program, and advocate for the creation of an Indigenous Centre of Excellence to support the educational success of our students. I have also made clear my support for a comprehensive, fully funded, boardwide seismic upgrade program to ensure that our school facilities are physically safe, not tomorrow, but right away.
My commitment to you is a strong public education system we can all be proud of, one that is safe and secure and can inspire and inform our young people now and into the future. I will leave no one behind. I will bring to this job the same passion, strength, and determination that I have brought to every cause in my life.