Mareesca Gordon '20, who is leading a campaign in her hometown to diversify the books assigned in school, plans to continue her advocacy in her new home as a member of University of New Haven community.
by Thalia Hernandez ’17 M.A.
Graduate Assistant, Office of Marketing and Communications
This fueled Gordon’s passion to start a campaign in her hometown of Stamford to push for equality in the literature in the high school curriculum. With the support of her parents and members of the community, Gordon sent a letter to the town’s Board of Education encouraging the members to change the books assigned.
In her letter, she asserted that literary classics such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can have a damaging emotional or psychological impact on the black children reading them.
“We as black children begin to feel inadequate, lesser and, at worst, start to believe we have to work harder to be like our white counterparts,” said Gordon. “I believe that the miseducation of all races in America has created this sphere of discrimination that our country is currently facing.”
As part of her letter, she suggested several books and authors she believed should be incorporated into high school reading lists, including And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou and Annie Allen, a book of poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Gordon, who aspires to attend law school and to pursue a future in politics, plans to continue her advocacy in her new home as a member of University of New Haven community.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to express my beliefs and to pursue this campaign – and other future campaigns that I have in mind – in a welcoming environment,” she said.