I firmly believe that if we are to change the landscape for equality and inclusion in our country, we need to make our mainstream education system more receptive and responsive to a fair, broad and balanced representation of authors of all different skin colours. With that in mind, I made a petition to widen the intercultural representation of our Leaving Cert English syllabus so that students can learn about authors, poets and playwrights, who are black, white, and of colour. I am confident that this is a positive step in the right direction for educating young people of Ireland about important issues sooner, rather than later. Equally, secondary school teachers need more training in the area of teaching about complex social justice issues, such as racism, and supports need to be put in place to facilitate them. I believe that diversification of the English syllabus (and other subjects), will allow our young generation to be more conscious, informed and well rounded in their perspectives as they make their way to third-level education.
STAND is an organisation committed to campaigning and advocacy of wide-ranging social justice issues, and utilising our power to make a difference in society. Signing this petition, sharing it, and helping to fight for this cause will enable us to diversify the education system, making it more representative of the many talented and dynamic creatives which we should be learning about. By signing, we can widen the scope of young Irish people’s perspectives on the world, and decentralise their thinking of being white as the default. In the words of Ailbhe Smyth, ‘we cannot and must not go on perpetuating racism by wilfully ignoring the brilliant creativity and achievements of black and brown writers here, and throughout the world. It’s time for a truly broad embrace of all good writing’.