Dr. Christina Kishimoto, CEO
Dr. Christina Kishimoto, CEO

This month is Black History Month and it is precisely this point in time when it is more important than ever that the authentic history of the United States be told. There are two different narratives unfolding. While we have students authoring bills to promote more teaching of diversity and inclusion, we have adults trying to undermine the teaching of the African American experience in schools. This is not a time to take our eyes off the “prize.” We have made great progress in this country toward a more just and equitable society, but there is so much more to accomplish. We cannot allow the narrative of hope to be usurped by those using politicized self serving strategies to promote oppression.

The reality is that the full history of the African American experience, and non-White history, in the United States has never been accurately taught in school. It’s a misnomer for anyone to claim that they are going to keep African American studies from the U.S. curriculum, when it has always been historically absent. And while states like Florida, Arkansas and Virginia work to subvert the teaching of the uncomfortable and damning narratives that expose the systemic racism that has been a part of American society since before its founding, I believe there is hope. When young people have an opportunity to learn how African Americans have been historically dehumanized and are still systemically disempowered today through socialized concepts of race, they recognize the injustice for what it is and advocate for change. In the end, truth finds its light.

Don’t forget recent attempts at revisionist history that seeks erasure of the people who built this nation. It took seven years for Judge Tashima in Arizona to overturn the 2010 Mexican American Ethnic Studies ban, stating that not only does this policy violate the First and Fourteenth Amendment, but he noted that the ban was politically, not academically, motivated, i.e. enacted with racial animus. We will continue to control our narrative.

This month I am especially excited to introduce our newsletter readers to Dr. Tahira DuPree Chase, not only because she is a fellow Bronx native, but also because she has persevered over many years as a successful superintendent. I know you will enjoy her story! I am also excited to recognize the accomplishments of three impactful women, Dr. Verletta White, Dr. Avis Williams, and Bren Elliot!

If you are attending AASA in San Antonio this week, let me know! Please reach out to me and we will find a time to connect. I want to hear your story!