No matter what subject you teach or where you live, there is a push to deconstruct and rebuild secondary curriculum to be more inclusive, especially across the humanities. It can be overwhelming to know how or where to even start, and even more so if your administration is (for whatever reason that’s beyond me) resistant to these significant and necessary changes.
But it’s still completely possible to integrate more diverse voices into your curriculum and it needs to happen, not as an afterthought or an add-on, but as our focus. Back in the spring I listened to author Nic Stone explain how important it is for all students to see characters of color or disability not as oppressed, suffering martyrs, but as regular, ordinary people with typical coming of age struggles and experiences. The simplicity of normalizing diversity was both shocking and so obvious. Most of us grew up only seeing Black characters like Jim in The Adventures of Huck Finn or Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird. But these characters’ experiences do nothing to help students develop real empathy or acceptance.
Under the “free resources” page on my home is my Google Drive. You’ll see a folder titled “Elevating and Celebrating Historically Marginalized Voices”. In it are the texts and videos I used during my four-week summer program this past July. Each week I focused on a different group of marginalized voices: Hispanic/Latinx, Asian American, Black lit, and LGBTQIA+. There is also a selection of Native American texts. I didn’t get to every text in the chart, and for reference, my students were rising 10th graders.
I hope this provides a useful starting point as you examine your curricula for this upcoming school year.