Diversity and Inclusion
July 20, 2020
Over the past few weeks, Scholastic Canada has asked its employees for feedback on what we could be doing better to correct racial inequity within our company and in society in general. The volume and the thoughtful, informed content of the messages we received speaks to the people we are proud to employ: smart, engaged, passionate and empathetic people who want to be involved in how this company moves forward in our efforts to change. We have also had a lot of discussions with parents, teachers, booksellers, librarians and the community at large.
Scholastic Canada is proud of our diversity and we are committed to the Scholastic credo to “respect the diverse groups in our multicultural society . . . and help build a society free of prejudice and hate dedicated to the highest quality of life in community and nation.” We advocate for an equitable, inclusive workplace and we support the publishing and promotion of underrepresented voices and stories. Our path forward must support essential and lasting change that will have a positive effect on the Scholastic community and the readers we serve in schools and homes across Canada.
We recognize diversity to include, but not be limited to: people of colour, Indigenous people, LGBTQIA2S+ people, people with disabilities, neurodiverse people, religious minorities and those who identify with other marginalized groups.
Here are the actions we are taking immediately:
- Employee education and training: we are committing to appropriate, mandatory development for all employees that will occur not just as part of the hiring process, but as ongoing professional development, using external, professional resources. Every employee will have completed the first round by the end of September 2020. Scholastic will also support all staff with one paid day annually to volunteer with an organization of their choice, effective immediately.
- Diversifying our publishing: our editorial policies (both English and French) have been updated to encourage direct, unagented submissions from writers and illustrators from underrepresented communities, including creators who are Black, Indigenous, people of colour and/or who identify with other marginalized groups. This can be found here: http://www.scholastic.ca/aboutscholastic/manuscripts.php. In addition, we have undertaken an analysis of our publishing lists for representation of race, gender, disability, neurodiversity, and sexual orientation.
- Reading Clubs and Book Fairs: both purchase books from other publishers to offer through schools across Canada and have recently updated their acquisition guidelines. This will ensure that children of all races, abilities, cultures, religion, identity, experiences and backgrounds see affirming and positive portrayals of themselves, their families, and their communities in the pages of the books we offer, as well as in our printed and online promotional materials.
- Marketing: we will develop specific marketing plans with designated budgets to focus on anti-racist and diverse materials. This will include the creation of tools to help teachers, librarians and booksellers increase the diversity of the books they offer to their customers and assist them with messaging to the audiences they serve.
- Community Outreach: Scholastic has a long history of donating books to many organizations. We are taking further steps to broaden our outreach and deepen our understanding of the work undertaken by our literacy partners, including their community reach and areas of specialization, to ensure that our donations are well curated and go to programs supporting diverse and/or marginalized communities.
We have also received comments and feedback through our social media platforms. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us. We are listening, we hear you and we have work to do. While we have some immediate plans in place, we recognize that this is only a start; that we have much more to plan, do and share, including our employee Diversity and Inclusion Committee and outreach. We will continue to improve our communication about the steps we are taking over the coming weeks, months, and beyond.
We are grateful and honoured to have had the support of teachers, parents, librarians, booksellers, readers of all ages and employees and we look forward to – and encourage – open dialogue as we navigate the critical journey towards creating a more inclusive, safe, and diverse workplace and world.