Club Spotlight: Diversify Our Narrative, YLHS

 Greeva Ramani (10) gives a testimony about racism in front of the PYLUSD school board.

Gaston Castellenos

Greeva Ramani (10) gives a testimony about racism in front of the PYLUSD school board.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

In light of recent events, it has become clear to many that racism is still a prevalent issue in the Placentia Yorba Linda School District. One club on campus that is focused on bringing attention to issues regarding racism and preventing these problems through education is Diversify Our Narrative YLHS.

Diversify Our Narrative, also known as DON for short, is a club that has four main goals. These goals are to mandate at least one BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) book for every English Language Arts class, to provide teachers with anti-racism training, to add more diverse books to the core works list, and to implement an ethnic studies elective. PYLUSD is an ethnically diverse district, but the books given to students in school fail to accurately represent this population. 

According to Abigail Lee (10), the district coordinator of DON, “Our goal is to shed light onto the unique experiences of people from different backgrounds and cultures to help us develop empathy for others.” These goals seek to create a more representative curriculum for students in PYLUSD by giving a voice to students who are often underrepresented in literature at school.

Our goal is to shed light onto the unique experiences of people from different backgrounds and cultures to help us develop empathy for others.”

— Abigail Lee (10)

By becoming a member of DON, students will be given different opportunities to advocate for an increase in diversity in education. Students can share personal testimonies at district board meetings regarding racial injustices they may have experienced or witnessed in the district, create informational social media posts about relevant topics, advocate for the creation of an ethnic studies elective, and much more. Students will also be able to earn community service hours for the time that they dedicate to DON.

Right now, one project that DON YLHS is working on is to include a greater diversity of books on the Core Extended Works List, which is a list of books that are approved to be taught in PYLUSD. Out of the books included in the list, DON has found that less than 20% of the books on the list provide adequate representation to BIPOC individuals. Even out of the books that do represent the BIPOC community, there is even less Asian and Hispanic/Latino representation (the two largest BIPOC groups in PYLUSD). According to Abigail Lee (10), DON is working towards achieving this goal by “advocating for more student involvement in the District’s plan to further diversify the curriculum as a whole.”

In conclusion, any student who is interested in diversifying the curriculum in PYLUSD, advocating for better representation of BIPOC individuals, and bringing attention to issues regarding racism in PYLUSD should join Diversify Our Narrative YLHS. By being a member of DON, students will be able to “gain a lot of experience that students would not be able to gain in a typical school setting led by adults. Students will learn to face a lot of unexpected real life situations which include encountering people who openly oppose you, researching current topics, communicating with both students and adults, brainstorming new ideas to bring change to the district, and overall leadership experience.” So if any of these ideas appeal to you, be sure to join DON during club rush.