Attention All HISD Students: What Side of History will Your Narrative Be?
The Black Lives Matter Movement is currently shifting our education in a different direction. Generations before us had to endure racism and begrudgingly tolerated the sugarcoated history taught in public schools. Our grandparents grew up during the Jim Crow Laws, school segregation, and some significant racial tensions. Now that my generation is growing up and seeing our families struggle, our people are disrespected and undervalued; it is time to keep the current movement going to have a positive change in our country.
There is a petition circulating amongst HISD schools called Diversify Our Narrative. Two Stanford students were responsible for starting the campaign: Katelin Zhou, daughter of Chinese immigrants, and Jasmine Nguyen, daughter of Vietnamese refugees. Katelin Zhou wrote, "Obviously racism has always been a huge problem for America...but the momentum behind all the activism going on made us realize that there was a big opportunity to try and help contribute to the movement in whatever way we could." They made an eye-catching Instagram page to publicize their cause and quickly noticed chapters popping up all over California, and eventually, other states like Texas began to follow.
Two Kinder HSPVA students, Christine Rong, Seva Raman, and Houston Academy for International Studies student Cynthia Harper founded Diversify Our Narrative HISD in July 2020. Several organizers, including myself, are responsible for getting the word out to get signatures to support this movement. Schools with organizers for this chapter are Kinder HSPVA, Bellaire High School, Carnegie Vanguard High School, DeBakey, Houston Academy for International Studies, and Lamar High School.
Diversify Our Narrative provides a book list and curriculum outline for schools once the petition gets passed. The list includes fiction and non-fiction texts that are chosen by the executive board and other recommenders.
Can this generation push our educational board to the right side of history when we demand anti-racists texts for our school? How do we get to this point when our state accepts history books that do not precisely understand facts versus heroizing the Civil War's villains?
I am personally asking parents, students, and former alumni of HISD to sign this petition. HISD was vocal when we protested the horrendous death of George Floyd. Let us not forget that he was an alumnus of HISD.
Dr. Grenita F. Lathan, HISD Interim Superintendent, said, "As the Interim Superintendent of Houston ISD, I am committed to advancing - and achieving - educational equity in our communities of color.I firmly believe that a shift in the dialogue on race in our country begins in our classrooms, and this work remains a top priority in Houston ISD. I am hopeful that the conversations taking place today will result in meaningful changes for our future generations."
Racism is alive in 2020. I have had friends who have come forward and shared their stories of being spit on or were addressed with racial slurs. Personally, I was told that if I didn’t straighten my hair for an extracurricular activity, my grade would be docked. Please help make this right by signing. Click here to sign the petition.
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