She’s being the change she needs to see!
A North Carolina teen created an online series to offer an alternative to traditional Black history curriculum, Blavity reports.
Alyssa Rambert is a senior at D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, North Carolina. In middle school, she first realized the gaps in her Black history curriculum, seeking to provide something that actually taught the full spectrum of Blackness.
“In 8th grade, I just remember learning the same thing every year, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement. My parents would teach me Black history at home, so I got that aspect, but there are so many kids that don’t have the resources to be able to forward their own knowledge in Black history,” said Rambert.
After continuing to see the same types of offerings at the high school level, she decided to take charge and create her own type of curriculum, the WE STAND web series, an online initiative that highlights local, Black historical figures.
“What we’re showing right now is a misrepresented image of what Black history is and also noting that this partial aspect of history that we’re choosing to show does not help a certain group. It’s harming both, [Black and white] it’s harming everybody, really,” Rambert explained.
The series is currently offered in the form of public service announcements, produced in partnership with the City of Greenville and the Love A Sea Turtle youth leadership and conservation group. WE STAND highlights Black trailblazers and iconic areas in the city of Greenville, including C.M. Eppes, Lucille Gorham, Ledonia Wright and the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
In 2019, the 17-year-old lost her cousin to police brutality, further motivating her to use her platform to advocate for race-conscious conversations in high school.
“I realized the root of it, [racial injustice], was perspective and what we learned and making sure that we teach and represent Black people the right way, instead of these biases that we want to project. That’s important for me, and just being able to mesh those two is what inspired me to start WE STAND,” said Rambert.
She’s already being honored for her work, receiving the inspiration spotlight at the George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards, a ceremony honoring individuals who exude the “transformative power of service.” Since her activism has started, her school has also introduced an African American studies class.
“It’s exciting to be able to be recognized and be able to note a message that I’m passionate about, but also forwarding it in different communities,” she said.
Rambert credits activists like Claudette Colvin, the 15-year-old civil rights pioneer who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in 1955, with inspiring her to take action at a young age. She hopes to expand her efforts to other committees and bring her service to higher academia when she graduates, looking to attend Brown University, Howard University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, pursuing ethnic studies or African American studies with a dual major in political science.
Thank you for your work, Alyssa! Because of you, we can!
Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Rambert/Reflector