Being a Person Of Color at 4J

As a mixed teen, African American and white, in Eugene’s school systems for years, all I learned about was slavery and Cinco De Mayo and Martin Luther King Jr. until I was a junior in high school.

I spent years learning about how Christopher Coloumbus and our founders were these great people and really made America what it is today. I virtually knew nothing about my culture and who I was until middle school. There I had my first teacher who looked like me, and she was amazing — until 4J decided that she had to go after my first year.

I wouldn’t have another teacher who looked like me till I was a senior in high school. In our school system, why aren’t we teaching our youth about true heroes? Why don’t we have more teachers of color? I had to learn who James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Rodney King, Maya Angelou and Frederick Douglass were on my own as a middle schooler.

We never learn about the Black Panthers or the Black Lives Matter movement. We need to have more diversity with the teachers in our school, no police in our schools, and we need to teach our kids all of the USA’s history and not some white-only curriculum. We need more classes that teach about social justice, people of color’s history and culture, and LGBTQ+ history. I’m calling on 4J to step up and make a change.

Elijah Boyle