Sheila E. Tucker

ABOUT SHEILA E. TUCKER

Sheila E. Tucker is a writer, poet, graphic designer and painter. Her work has been published in anthologies, magazines, newspapers and e-zines.

She recently served as editor-in-chief for an Ontario anthology of prose, visual art and poetry, and founded and hosts Poetry&Prose, a monthly literary salon in Oakville.

Sheila studied English literature at the University of Toronto, and is a member of The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) and The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS).  She is also in the Heliconian Club for Women in the Arts and Letters, where she is active in selection committees, book projects and author events.

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Taunting! Punching! Tripping! Name-calling! I provide several examples below of how Indigenous children continue to be discriminated against. It has to stop!  Canada Canadian Global News journalist Brooke Kruger reported a case in March 2024, of a boy continuously bullied because of his Indigenous heritage. Ten-year-old Victor Bear and his family moved to the town of Coronach, Saskatchewan, five years ago. The boy’s aunt, Chasity Delorme, says Victor has been picked on in school since the beginning. Starting with name-calling and taunting, the problem gradually became worse, with a physical attack on the child this year by a school gang. Because he tried to defend himself, he was later blamed as the instigator by the RCMP. “Victor is a kind young man who once had long, beautiful hair and was once proud of his braid,” Delorme said. “Within a year of living in Coronach, it got to the point where he told his mom he was tired of being called Victoria and he wanted to cut his hair.” Delorme says asking for support from the Prairie South School Division has been met with vague comments and that nothing has been done to stop the bullying. There is an apparent ignorance and apathy towards cultural diversity and respect. Finally, the family sought help from the Sovereign Indigenous Nations. “Our First Nation children in this province have every right to be at school without abuse that impacts their mental health so much they consider self-harm,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. He pointed to a recent report by the Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service saying Indigenous people constitute 35 per cent of all suicide deaths in the province, despite only making up 17 per cent of the population. “Schools must embrace diversity, and promoting cultural understanding and acceptance is a must,” Cameron said. “We all have a responsibility to navigate challenging situations and advocate for justice and equality for our children.” Bear’s mom Spencer Bisgaard said she wants more communication from the school. My comment: Why, with all the awareness of First Nations rights, are we still hearing about such cruel behaviour by White children? here are their parents? Why are they not teaching tolerance and understanding to their sons and daughters? I believe that, unfortunately, many do not care, and that more laws need to be put in place to enforce right behaviour. Being bullied is a form of torture, and the trauma is long-lasting! Watch the news cllp here: Coronach, Sask. boy bullied for Indigenous heritage, family speaks out   Australia Survey: Indigenous students skipping school to avoid bullying and racism High-profile cases of racial discrimination in sports and on public transport are reporting on the news, but less is heard about racism in schools. An Australian survey of secondary schools found 80 per cent of students from non-White backgrounds reported experiencing discrimination, mostly at school. The problem is worse in the more remote areas of the country. There are myriad ways in which racism is damaging to the health, educational and social outcomes of children and young people throughout their lives, starting with them skipping school to avoid being bullied, which in turn leads to poor grades and less opportunities in the work force. The survey states that more studies need to be done. For example, who are the perpetrators … teachers or peers? Are the perpetrators from the same or different racial/ethnic background, age or sex? What forms of racism are most common and in what context? Cyberfbullying? Or in the classroom and breaktime? My comment: Studies are helpful. However, in the meantime, these school pupils need support. How about local groups coming together to lead classroom awareness seminars, mentoring sessions, and so on? Help for children is needed now, not after more studies. Read the report here: https://theconversation.com/indigenous-students-skipping-school-to-avoid-bullying-and-racism-25433   University of British Columbia, Canada: 2021 survey regarding bullying of ethnic children Read it here: Half of Canadian kids witness ethnic, racial bullying at school: study It has to stop!!!     [...]
Next month will be Black History Month (BHM). This is my topic for today. As well, because this year’s Oscar winners will be announced mid-February, right in the middle of BHM, I am also going to relay a story about the first Black woman to win an Oscar.   Known in the US as African-American History Month, February’s Black History Month was begun in 1926 thanks to the efforts of historian Carter G. Woodson, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Originally known as Negro History Week, the second week of February was chosen back then to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Both of their birthdates (12th and 14th) had been celebrated for many decades already by the Black community. BHM is now also recognized Canada, the UK and Ireland (the latter two celebrate in October). BHM is a time to remember important people and occasions in the African diaspora, via events and festivities; also to recognize the community in general. For example, last February in Canada, the BHM theme was “Ours to tell.” It was for learning more about stories Black people have, to tell everyone about their histories, sacrifices and successes. It was an opportunity for open dialogue. Much has improved for the Black community in the last century; however, there is still a long way to go. Sadly, racism and supremacists still flourish and we continue to hear news accounts of yet another young Black person mowed down by police officers and haters: oftentimes the victims were sleeping in their beds or cars, or jogging along a country road. Personally, I’m not sure we’ll ever be completely free of such discrimination and violence, but those responsible absolutely must be held to account. First Black Oscar Winner: Hattie McDaniel Hattie McDaniel played head slave Mammy in the 1939 Civil War epic Gone With the Wind and yet, because she was Black, she was not allowed to attend the premiere of the film. Clark Gable, who had become a close friend, intended to boycott the premiere because of this. However, McDaniel convinced him not to do so. (The two got along extremely well, as evidenced by their on-set antics. Gable once pranked McDaniel by swapping her tea with brandy.) In 1940, she had to accept her best supporting actress trophy in a segregated hotel. Producer David O. Selznick called for a special favour to have McDaniel allowed into the no-blacks Ambassador Hotel, which hosted the 12th Academy Awards; however, she was forced to sit at separate table near the wall, away from her white co-stars. During her emotional speech, McDaniel indicated that she hoped her prize would have a lasting impact. “I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry,” she said. Hattie McDaniel (1893-1952) was the daughter of two former slaves. She was the 29th inductee in the Black Heritage Series by the United States Postal Service. Her 39-cent stamp was released on January 29, 2006, featuring a photograph of McDaniel in the dress she wore to accept her Oscar in 1940. McDaniel was a successful singer as well as actor, and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood: one for radio and the other for motion pictures. In 1975, she was inducted posthumously into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. See clip for Hattie McDaniel receiving her Academy Award. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7t4pTNZshA [...]
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