When we’re taught about slavery, we read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” When we’re taught the American Dream, we read “The Great Gatsby.” When we’re taught about great rhetoric, we read the “Declaration of Independence” — when we want to learn about the human experience, it’s usually from a white perspective.
So why shouldn’t we read “Up From Slavery” by Booker T. Washington, or “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, or “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr., or several other powerful works by non-white authors?
To effectively combat racism and regressive ideals, we must improve the foundation of our society: education.
DiversifyOurNarrative is a student-led organization that aims to do so by targeting the reading lists and curriculums of public school boards to include non-white authors. Many schools’ book lists have remained relatively unchanged over the last few decades, creating a disparity between the progression of our society and our schools.
The organization creates branches in school districts across America, operated by students, parents, and educators, who take it into their own hands to garner support through petitioning their district. These local groups are responsible for bringing positive change to their education.
At this point, you may be wondering “how can I help?”
You can start with a DiversityOurNarrative petition. Select your state and sign the appropriate petition as a member of your district (whether you are a current or former student, parent, or educator). Don’t forget to share the petition and this article, as the movement operates on increased awareness.
After signing the petition, you may want to become an active organizer and leader in the movement for your district. In that case, you can start here by becoming an organizer, which will easily allow you to spread the movement and organize meetings with your district to gather support.