North Central HS graduate reflects on lack of racial culture in daily lessons

SPOKANE, Wash.– Often times, a student will come home from school and explain to a parent what they learned that day.

But for years, minority students have come home from a day full of learning without even seeing their own culture in any lessons.

That’s what Spokane Public Schools wants to change.

Zyaira Webb is happy to see that as she’s attended SPS since moving to Spokane from Seattle in middle school.

She just graduated from North Central High School, Webb reflected on her time in the district.

“It was mostly just white teachers saying I feel you, I feel you, but I didn’t want that,” Webb said.” I wanted someone that actually had that connection, that actually knew what I felt.”

Her path to earning that diploma from North Central came with some struggles.

“It’s just crazy how I had to grow up in that situation where I had to choose between defending my skin color or just being friends with people and forgetting about it,” Webb said.

Spokane Public Schools is preparing a more racially diverse history curriculum, which goes into place next fall.

“This curriculum was created and designed with student voice in mind, where they can see themselves in the curriculum,” North Central staff member Shamerica Nakamura said.

Webb was one of those students wanting to see her culture in daily lessons.

“The only thing you talk about in African American culture is slavery,” Webb said. “My culture has something way bigger than slavery.”

The school board is also thinking about adding a multicultural club to each school in the district.

North Central is one school that already has that, and Webb took advantage of it by becoming the club’s president.

“I had to be that voice for other students, so I made friends out the way who had the same passion as me, advocating for people of color,” Webb said.

That’s what racial equality is all about, giving every student in the school a voice no matter what color they are.

Webb is excited to see the district, and the country as a whole, take some steps forward.

But, she believes it is just the beginning.

“People knowing what’s happening around the world and people saying ‘hey this is wrong’, the more we get justice, the more we get equality as people of color,” Webb said.

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