A Message from the Fraser Hickson team on our Commitment to Diversity and Anti-Racism
July 29th, 2020
At the Fraser Hickson Institute, we believe in equality and stand in solidarity with those protesting against anti-Black racism and structural racism in Canada. In this letter, we would like to publicly address the actions our organization is taking to commit to diversity and anti-racism in our programming.
The Fraser Hickson Institute’s mission is to raise literacy levels by empowering partners to instill in children a life-long love of reading and learning from birth and to enable free access to books and animation services. Our project provides daycares and community centres across Montreal with free access to books and volunteer storytime animators. The communities we serve are among the most diverse in Canada, home to people of different races, ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic status, gender identities, religious beliefs, and physical abilities. Therefore, we believe that it is vital that these communities have access to books that accurately reflect their diversity.
A step towards addressing systemic inequality is by having more positive representation in literature because stories significantly impact children’s social and identity development. Children’s self-esteem is mostly influenced by how society views the cultural group to which they belong (Naidoo, 2014). When children do not see their culture represented in library collections, they receive the message that their culture is not important enough to be featured in the library (Naidoo, 2014). Therefore, we commit to including more books authored by and featuring people of colour and other diverse identities in our library collection. Going forward, we will be prioritizing diversity and representation when curating our library materials and online resources.
Lastly, to advocate for anti-racism and to help build a greater understanding of the actions we all can take, we have compiled a Black Lives Matter reading list on our Facebook page. We encourage individuals to use this list to become more informed and engaged as we do our part to increase representation in children’s literature in our communities.
Helen Fortin, CEO
Asha Dixit, Operations Manager
Vanessa Foran, Partner and Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator
Marco de Petrillo, Librarian
Naidoo, J. C. (2014). The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children (pp. 1-14,
Rep.). Association for Library Service to Children.