New Haven Public School Advocates on Wednesday hosted a panel discussion at the New Haven YMCA Youth Center about ways to institute a more diverse curriculum.

At the public event that drew around 50 community members, panelists discussed the lack of multicultural perspective in New Haven public school curriculums. Community advocate Bycyn Thompson talked about how schools allegedly do not adequately represent the voices of people of color and do not fairly incorporate every affinity group’s voice.

“[School] curriculum[s] [are] structured in the history of domination,” Ethnicity, Race and Migration professor Daniel HoSang told the News.

HoSang added that Connecticut recently passed a bill that would require all high schools to offer an African American Studies or Latinx Studies course within three years.

At the event, activists and panelists said teenagers lack space to discuss what they want to see in school curriculum. Other panelists also expressed concerns about the lack of LGBTQ+ education in schools. During the small group discussion, many participants echoed panelists’ concerns about the lack of diverse perspectives in school curriculums but acknowledged that it may be difficult to highlight the histories of all minority groups in history classes.

“We have to include one elective in African American or Latinx history,” New Haven Academy teacher Fana Hickinson said. “[But that is a challenge] only because of the way in which our classrooms are set up and it doesn’t necessarily allow us to do that in an authentic way.”

Pedro Mendia-Landa, who works as the director of New Haven Public School’s English language learner program, said the city is funneling more resources into reforming its curriculum with a focus on multicultural literature.

At the discussion, event hosts encouraged community members to attend a New Haven Board of Alders Committee on Education workshop in October. From Oct. 11 to 14, a local bookstore called People Get Ready will screen a film about the Abenaki tribe and feature books by Indigenous authors on 119 Whalley Ave.

In an interview with the News, Alexandra Griffith ’23 said she was intrigued by the event’s focus on truth-telling and the importance of acknowledging all perspectives in history.

On Oct. 14, the New Haven Board of Education will hold its next public forum on New Haven Public Schools.

Christian Robles | christian.robles@yale.edu