Lawmakers across the country are working to prevent students in public schools from being able to learn and talk about racial and gender discrimination. This is an offense to the lived experiences of students of color and a violation of students’ First Amendment rights.

As constituents, we must ensure our constitutional rights are not infringed upon by our elected officials. All young people, especially students of color, deserve access to an unprejudiced and accurate education that explores the histories and stories of our most marginalized communities.

Not only is open and honest dialogue protected by the Constitution, but studies show that an equitable and culturally relevant education can improve performance in school. Students build a sense of belonging, empathy and understanding.

Just this year, Seattle Public Schools voted to approve courses exploring Black and LGBTQ+ history (LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning, with the + denoting everything along the gender and sexuality spectrum.) Although this is a step forward, there is still a nationwide attempt to censor this material in the classroom. I urge readers to contact legislators, voice our support for equitable education and continue to fight for our constitutional rights. The time for change is now, and the change starts with us.

Lauren Hightower, Spokane