Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Free and Open Exchange Benefits All

Across the nation, state lawmakers are actively working to prevent students from having an open and equitable history education - one that both acknowledges the role of racism in the United States and portrays the lived realities and viewpoints of people in marginalized communities accurately.

As someone who was born and raised in Oklahoma before moving to Northern Virginia, I have seen this censorship first hand and the disparities in history curriculums from state to state. In the past year, my Fairfax County public high school, McLean High School, has done an excellent job incorporating a multitude of perspectives into both our English and History courses and provided several opportunities for open and honest dialogue about the discrimination faced by Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. We have been assigned readings like Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds, as well as had a plethora of projects centered around unheard voices. While the experiences of some, such as those of disabled and LGBTQ+ folk, have been less recognized, these conversations and assignments are exactly what history classrooms around the state and nation should look like. This free and open exchange has benefits for all students, and it has personally improved my academic experience significantly. We must continue to acknowledge and teach about the value, cultures, histories, and modern-day contributions of all Americans, particularly of marginalized communities that are often the most invisible in many classrooms. All young people, especially students of color, deserve an equitable education and the right to learn and talk about issues such as racism and their own history.

Susan Shobeiri

McLean High, 12th Grade

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