"The Importance of Diversity in the Classroom"
By: Anna Nyakana
Diversity should be a defining thread in the weaving of a child’s education, for it produces an undeniable texture that will impact all of their decisions and understanding, a magnificent pattern of culture that will remain tightly stitched within their spirits for a lifetime. Most school districts select a child’s school placement by ZIP Code or street address. Sometimes pulling children in from “different sides of the track” into the same school. As a result, the classroom may be the very first place that a child comes into contact with another different from their own race! What an incredible opportunity to ensure that children are learning about world cultures, rich traditions, and customs; especially children of Color, for our history is limited within standard curriculum. Diversity in the classroom is critical for its shapes the very society that children will grow up to inherit; let us make this World worthy of their inheritance
We have a responsibility to expose children to the rest of the World, including the communities in which they live. This in turn will ensure we are developing well-rounded students that will mature into compassionate, understanding, and empathetic global citizens; consider how this change could impact the current state of the World. We need to strike at the minds of the youth, while they’re malleable, while they know no malice, while they know no prejudice, before that seed of ignorance is planted. Diversity should not be tolerated but rather celebrated! Moreover, diversity promotes a child’s creativity as it adds perspective, depth, rhythm, flavor, and essence to an otherwise one-dimensional and predictable environment.
Every culture contributes uniquely to civilization in areas such as music, dance, written expression, spiritual insights, athletics, science, and mathematics. Therefore, it would be an injustice to only focus on a single-culture perspective in the classroom, as it restricts the creative mind from expanding to its true potential. This is the fundamental reason of why my focus has been to implement the Niyah Zuri series into every single classroom across the country.
Within “Niyah Zuri and The Pharaoh’s Throne,” children are learning about Ancient Egyptian history: spiritual practices and beliefs, way of life, the geography of a monumental Empire; all of which is not being watered down or misconstrued to receive a western acceptance. I am exposing children to real African history. Something that is going to significantly empower children of Color because they now understand the richness of their own selves and broaden the minds of other children, who may not identify as such, to embrace and respect the Kingdoms and Empires they descend from. This knowledge is beyond the 28 days of Black History month and the standard topics that are traditionally revisited in the classroom during that time period, for we are beyond Black History month! Our history is 365! Our history created all history!
Additionally, with a focus on Prince Tut, a young boy turned Pharaoh at the tender age of only eight years old, children are inspired to believe in themselves without question and walk in their dreams now. One’s age should not limit them from achieving anything that they desire in their life; look to history to remember your worth, your value, your strength – you are limitless! What a powerful elevation that could be to all children, as it creates a more enlightened and compassionate society – I don’t know about you but that’s the world I want my children to grow up in. And I will do everything I can each and every day to ensure I contribute to that society for everyone else’s children too. Let’s continue the work!