Make Anti-Racism Courses Mandatory in Connecticut High Schools

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This petition calls for the introduction of a mandatory Anti-Racism course within the Connecticut high school curriculum. 

Existing systems of education within the State of Connecticut are currently insufficient to make students aware of the extensive problems that plague our society. Even with the recent bill requiring schools to teach an optional course on African American and Latino history, this curriculum fails to address the history of the land that our schools and broader society have occupied after forcefully removing the owners from their land. This history is either erased by omission in our schools or is taught solely in the historical context of initial colonial arrival and occupation, with priority given to positive reconstructions rather than accurate depiction of the genocide that occured.

Current curriculum also fails to recognize ongoing systems of oppression and harmful experiences that citizens of Connecticut continue to face on a daily basis in the form of micro-aggressions and discrimination. This curriculum is failing to provide students the tools to recognize, call out, deconstruct, and generally address oppressive systems and personal biases. Overall, this lack of acknowledgement reinforces racism in our society and racist behavior through inaction, lack of education, and even miseducation. 

Additionally, the existing curriculum does not guarantee that students are taught about Anti-Racism. For example, to showcase this insufficient knowledge of social justice, schools in Connecticut still retain offensive mascots, with minimal progression and slow action (if any) taken to change them. Confederate flags are still being flown off of the cars of students at high schools with no public policies prohibiting oppressive and racist symbols on school grounds. These practices are unacceptable and should not be allowed at all, let alone in an educational setting.

This new course should draw on the work of scholars and experts exploring topics such as representation and antiracism in order to construct a more adequate curriculum that stops prioritizing exclusion in favor of patriarchal Eurocentric histories and norms. The course should expose students to the actual history of the place that we live and to the realities of racism in modern life as well as teach them how to think critically about their own actions and the actions of others to work as active allies towards a more equitable and just future.