Ontario College of Teachers, Doug Ford, Lisa MacLeod, WECDSB

For some reason, the concept of European History Month and European Pride are mistaken for racism and white supremacy. European-Canadians built this country and deserve recognition in our academic halls and classrooms.

As a person of both Greek and Italian heritage, I'm proud of my ancestry. When the Southern European Diaspora began immigrating to Canada, we taught these people how to eat, drink and dress.

We, the European-Canadians, demand equality and public recognition in the form of European History Month!

Every year, for a whole month, we’re ordered by our employers to recognize the history, achievements and influence of Black people while neglecting the achievements and contributions of Europeans.

Black History Month and Pride Month are great things but think what we might learn from a European History Month as well. Not “White History Month” but a “European History Month”, two very different things!

I wish I could join the throngs of people queuing up to grovel off Black History and Pride Month. I’ve grown accustomed to the crop of predictable requests in my overgrown inbox. “Could you join Pride week at this Zoom event?” “Please join our Equity workshop?” “Do please write something funny and original for our ESL students!” Ugh yawn

European history is wildly underrepresented, not just in classrooms but in general society and culture. It can, for some, feel strange for students to learn about Greeks and Italians. The under-representation of the Southern European diaspora in popular consciousness is also something of a vicious cycle, one which sees their stories left out of history books, both literally and figuratively. As we speak, the wonderful contributions of Christopher Columbus, an Italian hero, are being airbrushed from the curriculum books while being vilified as a villain by the “CRT brigade”.

Nothing pleases me more than listening to the lush orchestration of Giuseppe Verdi or the virtuosity of the scoring by Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The fruits of the talents of so many past and contemporary European musicians, artists and writers should be gathered, displayed, and taught in our schools. European history is a rich history that includes the highlights of the reign of King James I, the Gunpowder Plot, Shakespeare, Jacobean tragedy, Renaissance, Walter Raleigh and his famed presentation of a potato to Queen Elizabeth I, etc.

Perhaps, by announcing a European History Month, in which colored people are explicitly evacuated from key points in the history of the Western World, we might be finally able to understand better the mechanics of our history curricula. As the dominant demographic in Ontario, in terms of sheer numbers and political power, European-Canadians should prioritise their own stories and history over others.

I’ve spent my life celebrating the fact that I have European parents. My dad immigrated to Canada from Greece and my mom from Sicily. I have heavily accented grandparents with stories that could fill academic books, and every time the World Cup and Euro Cup starts, my dad proudly sticks both the Greek and Italian flags in the planters on our front porch and on our family cars and I think every member of the Euro diaspora should too!

European-Canadians have sacrificed tremendously to build this great nation. I’m grateful and honored that I had the opportunity to grow, educate, and become an active citizen to contribute to the awesome country. I’m endlessly grateful and proud to be European!

Since Europeans built this nation, it should make sense that we finally receive recognition, especially in academia. By allowing us to have European History month makes for a good start.

So please sign this petition so that European-Canadians finally receive the recognition and appreciation we deserve!

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The Ontario Government and OCT must allow European History Month petition to Ontario College of Teachers, Doug Ford, Lisa MacLeod, WECDSB was written by Tita Kyrtsakas and is in the category Culture at GoPetition.