Karely Molina Martinez Staff Writer
Diversify our Narrative, an organization created to incorporate anti-racism and racially diverse texts into US schools, now has its own club on campus. Organized and started by junior Georgia Evensen, the club works to inform students of authors from different ethnicities and backgrounds. The club signs petitions, introduces suggested reading lists, and currently works to persuade the school board to incorporate more BIPOC (black, Indigenous, people of color) authors into the curriculum.
“Our plan is [to] implement one book by a BIPOC author about their experiences, or just experiences of BIPOC individuals, to diversify our very whitewashed curriculum,” Evensen said. “[We want to] implement one of those books into each english class, as well as extend the program to history classes as well.”
Many books read during school are written by white authors, so the need to expand the curriculum to be more openly diverse is important to Evensen, who grew up as a part of the community.
“Having grown up in this district, I really think that in order to progress as a society and in our community to truly feel safe, we need to diversify our narrative in order to feel empathy and understand other people’s experiences that are so different from ours. We really need to start that in our classroom, of all ages,” Evenson said.
The club hopes to expand the program in order to incorporate diverse books into both the high school and elementary school curriculum. By incorporating diverse books for students at a young age, the district can provide students with a wider selection of perspectives. Organizers of the club, like junior Sofia Kirkland-Aguilar, emphasize the importance of not having a “one-sided” perspective.
“We just want to do exactly what it says: ‘Diversify our Narrative.’ We also want to give the viewpoints of how the Native Americans viewed this [colonization], how minorities have been changing. We just want everyone to not just see the European viewpoint,” Kirkland-Aguilar said.
Club members feel that many of the texts read throughout school are often outdated. Students like junior Aghigh Banitaba are currently focusing on trying to diversify the curriculum.
“Right now is the best time to push for the inclusion of a diverse curriculum. I know that a lot of teachers have already begun researching diverse books and short stories by authors of color,” Banitaba said.
The wide range of BIPOC authors in the club’s suggested reading list is important in order to create an inclusive and welcoming environment, not just in middle and elementary schools, but in high schools as well.
“This is not an issue that’s just for us, it happens in others schools as well. So, I definitely feel that having a place like [Diversify Our Narrative] where people can be exposed to new perspectives is really important,” Banitaba said. “I think it’s always difficult to incorporate something new, especially when people have different opinions; however, I do think that right now is the best time to do this.”