Social Justice Activism in the Heartland of Hate: Countering Extremism in Alberta

  • Darren E. Lund


This article addresses Alberta’s conservative political and social milieu with attention to teachers engaged with their students in school activism on social justice issues. Its purpose is to shed light on the experiences of teachers who address extremism through school-based activism with young people. A brief historical overview of Canada’s racist past includes a focus on Alberta’s specific regional political scene and on hate-group activities over the past several decades. The effect is traced of this past on contemporary discourses about diversity. Examples of responses to diversity backlash and extremism are offered with reference to a particular student social justice program and current research that studies diversity activism in Canadian schools. Excerpts from interviews with teacher activists address how their work is affected by this context as they implement social justice initiatives in schools.