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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DREI) and suicide

TORONTO – Last week, a 60-year-old retired principal from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) committed suicide. Richard Bilkszto had been working on contract after retirement. He had been [ordered] by the employer to attend DREI seminars as part of his condition of employment. He complied.

Things did not go well. The program deliverer, the KOJO Institute, through its principal agent founder allegedly berated, if not bullied, him verbally for being an example of white supremacist culture. Bilkszto complained up the line, sought redress from the WISB, which in turn consented to his request to file a suit against the TDSB. Our condolences go to his family and friends.

Remember when business enterprises were about delivering a product or service measurable in quantity and quality? Or when merit was a part of inputs your buyer/employer took into consideration when making a decision?

Now it is almost exclusively about “affirmative action”. “Finger-pointing and moralizing about the past”.  To get on board, so to speak, many institutions are commissioning “retraining seminars” for senior staff to “sensitize them” to the new social realities in the hope of improving output. Monies are made available by all levels of government to encourage this.

It is a thriving business for “experts” who promote the need for DREI training. There is no diploma for those who take it. Those who emerge from it cannot point to a new set of skills the way attendees at sports camps, writers’ workshops, investment strategies/financial consultants, subject specific legal seminars, music/dance classes, carpentry [… the list is long…] can.

The Corriere has a history with Kiki OjoThompson (in the pic below, from Twitter – @KojoInstitute), the founder of the KOJO Institute. In 2021, she made a not too subtle observation regarding how the Italian community responded to Italy’s national soccer team victory in the world championship compared to the gold medal victory by… in the Olympics 100-metere dash. She immediately blocked our access to her social media feed.

She has an extensive client list. Four of them are Catholic School Boards (Halton, Dufferin-Peel, Toronto and York). Three others are Public District School Boards, all of them have experienced unpleasant events in recent years (Peel, Toronto and York). Remember when school was about cognitive development? TDSB, arguably the most woke board anywhere, has the unenviable distinction of having schools that resemble war zones, drug distribution hubs, fight clubs and sexual abuse centres for monetary gain. TCDSB’s director was an executive Superintendent there.

Here is the main “selling point” offered by KOJO to gullible organizations or educational enterprises devoid of a moral compass that recognizes individual dignity, respect and a moral code. The excerpt is taken from their website; emphasises added.:

“The key challenge has been that organizations and institutions have not tailored their approach to equity work to address the specific disproportionalities and disparities for equity-seeking groups in their staff and client base. Instead, they have pursued the frameworks that are popular amongst other organizations in their sector, or pursued the frameworks that sound good and positive rather than approaches that address issues of inequity at their roots.

Without frameworks that name and disrupt the power structures that impact equity-seeking groups—specifically anti-racism, anti-black racism, anti-colonialism and anti-oppression—this work is not only largely ineffective but produces claims of reverse-discrimination from members of the dominant group, places pressure on the equity-seeking group to defend why specific efforts are being made for their benefit, and raises questions of the value of the investment of equity work.”

Bilkszto apparently objected to being so described but Kike piled on. From what Olympian heights did she descend?

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