• Cindy Martinez

Powerful Students Making Change: Diversify Our Narrative

This year has been extremely eye-opening to the millions of people who are just learning of injustices brought to people of color. After the heart breaking death of George Floyd many programs and petitions arose to help create change for the black community and other groups that consistently deal with social injustices.


Diversify Our Narrative (DON) (sometimes also called Diversify Your Narrative) is an organization founded in June of 2020 by Stanford University students Katelin Zhou and Jasmine Nguyen. This organization brings districts together to fight for diversity in their curriculums. After seeing many acts of social injustice they wanted to create change, so the change began with schools. They noticed that often the texts used for teaching in school do not speak on serious racial issues, and they believe that schools lack the proper education on issues regarding race and racism. DON’s main goal is to provide education equity by bringing narratives of different races into education to make students knowledgeable about the struggles people of color have faced. This change will allow people of color to gain a platform to share their stories and narratives that students are not learning with the current educational curriculum.


A powerful student-led initiative advocating for change in our society, Diversify Your Narrative caught the attention of Mayfair students Chiagozie Okoye and Kristianna Trinidad. Both Okoye and Trinidad are juniors this year, and they took it upon themselves to start change in the Bellflower Unified School District. They are each huge advocates of DON’s movement, and they run the BUSD Diversify Your Narrative Instagram account (@busddiversifyyournarrative). Through their social media presence they strive to gain the attention of more people, encouraging them to sign the main Diversify Your Narrative petition. Signing the petition helps give the organization support and momentum to jumpstart change in curriculums nationwide.


Okoye shows the necessity of change in curriculums by saying “All that we learn is, frankly, the history and literature of White Americans rather than the history and literature of Americans. DON intends to change that, including more texts in the curriculum in hopes of expanding individual perspectives and combating racism.” He explains that many history textbooks and lectures are based on the perspective of White Americans, which is unacceptable because schools need a “broad curriculum of texts that match the diverse country we live in.” He brings up an interesting point; the United States is such a diverse country, yet schools are stuck with one narrative that limits education and the ability to empathize with the obstacles others have fought for. If this curriculum is adopted and implemented students will be able to understand history in a diverse and more thorough way.


Co-leader of this initiative Kristianna Trinidad goes to say that “singular or one-sided representations of certain groups perpetuate stereotypes and neglect complexity,” and continues by stating that this new curriculum will “break boundaries of reducing people to their caricatures.” Diversify Your Narrative is a crucial movement that has the power to completely change the future of education if implemented across the country. Educating youth on racial injustices will break the systematic racism found in education throughout many schools.


Okoye and Trinidad both urge students to sign the petition and support the movement. Trinidad says “This is not a warrior movement. This is essential… if we do not receive an education that encapsulates most, if not all of, the narrative, there will be difficulty in reconciling history.” Because the youth of today is the future of tomorrow, it is critical to make them knowledgeable as they are a reflection of their education. To reiterate, Okoye says “Students need to do this; there’s no question about that. If you think that our school curriculum is perfect and that DON’s intentions are uncalled for, you really need a reality check.”

You can start the change that needs to be made by signing the petition here.

You can learn about Diversify Our Narrative here and on these news websites:

https://time.com/5888853/ethnic-studies-california/

https://fox17.com/news/local/tennessee-student-group-fights-to-diversify-the-narrative-in-curriculum

https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/7/29/21345114/students-diversify-curriculum-change-antiracist

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/high-schoolers-across-the-country-are-banding-together-to-demand-their-schools-teach-more-black-history-and-read-more-black-authors/2020/08/15/a42e6d12-dbef-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html


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