1,000 signatures reached
To: CA Educational Curriculum Policy Makers: CA State Superintendent of Public Instruction, CA Senior Policy Advisor, CA State Board of Education
Black Education Matters
Update the California Public School curriculum (i.e. text books, lesson plans, testing, etc.) to be more inclusive, integrated, and comprehensive by detailing important events and historical figures focused on or around Black Americans, with the ultimate aim of aligning education with the loudly-ringing calls from the Black community and its allies for a heightened sense of cultural awareness. Examples of events include, but are not limited to: The Amistad Case, Seneca Village, Black Wall Street, Rosewood, Redlining in relation to FDR's "New Deal", The Birmingham Campaign and Church Bombing, The Tuskegee Experiments, COINTELPRO in relation The Black Panther Party, along with a more thorough understanding of the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution and how it affects racial inequities that exist today. This assumes that slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, Brown v The Board of Education, The Civil Rights Movement and the like are already accounted for. Key historical figures include, but are not limited to: Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, Mary Ellen Pleasant, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Audre Lorde, and Nikki Giovani. This assumes that Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King Jr. are addressed in the current constructs. Teachings should accurately and appropriately contextualize the recurring themes where White nationalism has squandered Black progress through both overt and covert actions, while also celebrating groundbreaking moments and highlighting often-overseen Black icons in American history.
Why is this important?
There is a concerning lack of awareness around historically significant people and events that directly lend to race relations today, particularly as it relates to the challenges Black Americans face in fighting to bring awareness to the racial disparities in education, healthcare, homeownership, law enforcement interactions, criminal sentencing and much more. Critical omissions in California's educational curriculum perpetuate the misunderstanding of what it means to be American, while simultaneously reinforcing institutional ideologies birthed from White supremacy. California has long served as the trailblazer in progress, and we are looking to our elected officials in education to, once again, set an example by ushering in a more integrated and comprehensive curriculum, offering our bright-minded youth a truer and more holistic sense of who we are and where we come from.