During his classes on the first week of school, Martin Lee, a biotechnology and chemistry professor, used some of his class time to discuss the issues that prompted the Scholar Strike on Sept. 9 and 10.
The strike was a work stoppage event taking place across Canada and the U.S. in support of anti-oppression, police brutality and racism.
“The strike was about amplifying the message for the day and making sure that the voices of the oppressed are being delivered,” explained Lee.
During the two-day strike, faculty and students are suggested to a break from normal studies to educate themselves on anti-oppression, police brutality and racism.
Dr. Anthea Butler, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was inspired by the game strike by WNBA and NBA players for the Black Lives Matter movement decided to create the Scholar Strike.
The students and teachers who support the movement hope that this becomes an annual strike event until the message about Black Lives Matter has been heard.
Whether it was through boycotting basketball games, printing slogans on jerseys, signing petitions or donating, every single person was encouraged to contribute to the movement in their own way.
To help spread the messages that the Black Lives Matter movement stands for, different organizations, companies and humans have been finding ways to pass it along.
Annette Bouzi, a law professor and president of the OPSEU local 415, the faculty union at Algonquin, always brings information about non-oppression studies and the Black Lives Matter movement to her courses as part of her ongoing curriculum.
As a person of colour who is oppressed and also a person who has significant power as a teacher and a leader of a union, when Bouzi heard about the strike, she supported and tried to push it to as many people as she could.
“Because of the recent events and everyone is homebound and watching, the world is experiencing acts of violence differently, this is important,” said Bouzi about the movement. “I hope we come to a point where we don’t need a call to action.”
In a letter to the Algonquin community about the Scholar Strike, Claude Brulé, Algonquin’s president wrote: “Algonquin College stands with everyone calling for equity and justice for Indigenous, Black, and Communities of Colour around the world.”
In an interview, Brulé added more: “It’s very important to shine a light on this subject and we require significant action and help from everyone,” he said. “There is more work to be done.”