She cultivates comfort for sensitive conversations in a safe and engaging environment
Job Title: Diversity Consultant, Edmonton Public Schools
With diverse classrooms, it’s nearly inevitable that teachers will need to have difficult conversations with their students, either proactively or in response to an inappropriate comment or incident. Youssra Badr leads conversations focused on anti-racism and supporting Muslim students that give educators and administrators a safe space to learn about anti-racism.
“Education is one of the most powerful agents of change and we need to actively be guiding our students toward being change agents to make a society a better place for everyone in it,” Badr says.
When Badr starts a new session, it is not uncommon for a participant to disagree with something she says. When dissenters return to later sessions, they’ll often acknowledge their earlier comments and how they’ve since learned something in her sessions that have changed their understanding.
“These are the highs in this work that really make it possible to continue on, when you can see people make that shift and develop that understanding of how race and racism are playing out in our daily lives,” Badr says. “When these conversations are handled skillfully they provide opportunities for enhanced communication, growth and learning.”
Badr knows conversations about anti-racism are challenging, but sees the impacts of her work on a regular basis. “The best kind of feedback I’ve ever gotten is from people who say, ‘I was really worried about this, but I felt really safe in your session. I felt like I could contribute.’”