Activist on Central's banned diversity materials: Educators shouldn't be intimidated about teaching history

Shareef Hameed
York City
Shareef Hameed

My name is Shareef Hameed. I am a local community activist, independent mayor candidate, and TV host of the Hour of Power show here in York City. I'm writing this open letter and opinion in response to the article published in The York Dispatch about Central York School District having a list of Black/Latino authors, movies, books and reading materials on a banned list for teachers not to use as a curriculum.

This is very disturbing and divisive to say the least. It is a city, county and nationwide epidemic that needs to be addressed ASAP. Over the last 15 to 20 years, York County has experienced a huge urban sprawl of people moving to the county from D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and other surrounding cities. This has brought diversity to schools in the county like never seen before.

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Central York School District has attempted to serve these students from all backgrounds by hiring diversity counselors and specialists like Shahida Muhaimin (RIP), Emmanuel Brown, Ben Hodge and others to assist students and staff with diversity. There seems to be some resistance with positive change and factual history being taught.

I'm a mobile therapist in York County and York City, so I see the need for diversity as I travel to different school districts. Teachers should not be restricted in teaching diversity and accurate history to students. It is criminal to rob people of knowledge of self.

Teaching diverse and accurate history, the meaning the contributions of all people, will eliminate two major societal problems all at once. It would eliminate superiority and inferiority all at once. No one should think or feel they are superior, and no one should think or feel they are inferior. Topics such as the history and horrors of the slavery, contributions of Africans to the world, Jim Crow, segregation, and the 1969 Race Riots here in York City should be in the curriculum. All these topics and more should be apart of history being taught.

Under no circumstances should teachers feel or be intimidated about teaching accurate history. Any lists that are present to restrict proper history should be banned. We have plenty of educated people locally and abroad who can share plenty information with staff and students to foster diversity. The staff needs to trained on diversity for this idea to spread and be genuinely effective.

Hopefully, Central York School District will reconsider their stance on banning accurate history that has shaped and molded the history of this county and country and move more towards true diversity. Their population of students continues to grow, so they need to open up to change. If there is anything I can do to assist with this change, I am easy to reach. Thanks, your brother to all.