Have a Heart Day – This Valentine’s Day help end discrimination against Indigenous children
This Valentine’s Day, lend your heart to a very important cause: Indigenous kids who deserve the very best care. Have a Heart Day was created by the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada to encourage us to remember those kids who are growing up far from their homes, and who cannot access a proper school and adequate health services. It also urges us to take action.
You can help ensure that Indigenous children have the services they need to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and be proud of who they are.
There are many ways you can celebrate Have a Heart Day. The Caring Society offers these ideas:
- Send a Valentine’s Day card or letter supporting Have a Heart Day to the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament.
- Host a Valentine’s Day party to raise awareness in your school or community. Choose a day leading up to Valentine’s Day that makes sense for your class or community.
- Bring reconciliation into the classroom to get your students ready. Do Project of Heart, organize a KAIROS Blanket Exercise workshop, or screen a film. For other great ideas, visit the Shannen’s Dream School Resources page.
- Spread the word through YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #HaveaHeartDay.
Why this Matters
First Nations children on reserve experience discrimination in many ways, including the level of services they receive. Among these second class services are basics such as health, education and child welfare. Instead of correcting the situation so that Indigenous kids get the same start in life as other Canadians, the Government of Canada has fought tooth and nail to continue this systemic discrimination.
Thanks to a human rights complaint brought before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2007 by the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations, a light was shone on this shameful situation.
KAIROS has been walking with the Caring Society throughout this process. The Tribunal ruling in favour of the Caring Society and AFN in January 2016 was the first time in Canadian history the federal government was held accountable for its discriminatory treatment of First Nations children. It also set an important legal precedent in other areas such as education, health, housing and clean water. Unfortunately, to date the federal government has done little in the way of meaningful action to rectify the inequity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, citing a lack of money as the primary reason.
Every year of inaction is a lost year of childhood for thousands of kids. This Valentine’s Day, help make Have a Heart Day the biggest one yet. Lend your voice to the call for culturally based equity for First Nations children.