Black history is a topic everyone should learn about in school. Unfortunately, it’s only widely recognized and celebrated one month out of the year in some parts of the world.
Lavinya Stennett was attending college in England when she realized how much information she had missed growing up. The U.K.’s national curriculum had not only left out, but had also effectively erased Black culture and history. That’s what inspired her to bring more representation to the classroom!
The 23-year-old is the founder and CEO of The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise with a mission to teach Black history year-round. They accomplish this by providing teachers with information and resources to share with their students.
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The idea came to Lavinya while she was pursuing her degree in development and African studies at SOAS University of London.
“Often when I learned about Black people in Britain in school it focused on dehumanizing experiences — there might have been a few lessons about slavery, for example, but there was nothing empowering on the curriculum,” she told Global Citizen. “It was only at university that I learned that there was so much more to the history of Black people in Britain that isn’t taught.”
Today, Lavinya and her team of 30 people visit schools and hold workshops based on a 12-topic syllabus that was designed for students between the ages of 8 and 16.
Their lessons include art history, politics, and migration. And in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, they’re providing free online learning as well!
Their ultimate goal is to make Black history a part of the national curriculum, and they’ve already made a huge impact!
“It’s been lovely to hear the experience of teachers before and after, and how they’ve adapted conversations about curriculum and race too,” Lavinya said. “We’re hoping to keep going and see more teachers expanding their syllabus to better reflect this history.”
This is such a great way to give students a better education and give Black history the recognition it deserves! Here’s hoping this movement goes beyond the U.K. and catches on in the U.S. too!
Share this story to spread the word, and check out ways you can support The Black Curriculum here.
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