On Feb. 21 in the Martire Forum, the English Club celebrated Black History Month. Speakers read various poems and passages from Black writers so that students could learn more about the lives of African Americans and the struggles they encounter within the United States.
“It is important to uplift minority voices and perspectives, as voices are being censored,” said junior Kailey Blount, president of the English Club and copy editor for The Spectrum. “Books and poetry by Black authors are a great way to bridge gaps we may have.”
One excerpt from the event was “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, a story about a mother retelling her own struggles to inspire her son to keep going no matter what life throws at him. It emphasizes the struggles that African American parents have had to face and how they want better for their children.
“It’s a really important event because right now a lot of books by minority voices are unfortunately being banned,” said Blount.
As of January, some states have started to prioritize education and have put effort into banning and censoring material that they deem as “explicit.”
According to the Associated Press, in January, when Georgia lawmakers began meeting, “The top two issues are likely to be efforts to ban or block obscene materials from school websites and libraries and to regulate what schools can teach about race.”
“The reality of the truth scares a lot of people,” said senior Cameron Ward. “The viewpoint of Black authors may not be pretty because the reality they faced was brutal and harsh. By allowing children to read books by Black authors containing violence, I think it would be worse to attempt to forget this part of unfortunate history.”
While Sacred Heart offers a wide variety of novels, some students still feel like the readings should be diversified within the classrooms.
“I am not currently reading any books by Black authors here at Sacred Heart, but I would love to because it would help me learn more about their culture,” said freshman Sam Cunniff.
Other students feel that some of the topics that are taught in the classroom do not directly relate to Black authors and should not be prioritized.
“It is not always the professor’s fault that their readings don’t contain enough Black authors as there may not be enough books to read by Black writers that relate to the topics being taught within the classroom,” said freshman Jordan Greene.
Many students say that diversifying what they read in the classroom depends heavily on the professor.
“I think some professors do a good job at diversifying their literature,” said senior Meghan Bradley. “I am currently in a healthcare class and my professor does a great job at having us read articles and stories from diverse points of view.”
While some students may or may not be exposed to diverse literature by their professors, students who are exposed say that it can open their minds to different perspectives outside of their own.
“We can expand our education to a perspective that we may not be familiar with as we give Black authors a chance to have their voices heard,” said Cunniff.