Marissa Alejandra Martinez Suarez
University of Denver - 2024
Empower students of color by bringing more representation in the school's curriculum and teaching them about their powerful and dynamic cultures through history.
Major: History, Political Science
Project: Textbook racism is a big issue in education that subconsciously affects youth and makes them feel ashamed of their identities. As a result, students experience internalized trauma where they do not see themselves succeeding because history does not show people like them achieving great things. I want students to feel empowered and unafraid to be themselves, so for my Puksta project, I am going to find ways to bring more representation in the school’s curriculum and potentially create a program that teaches students how to embrace their cultures.
Inspiration: Throughout my education, I never once had a Latinx teacher around to respond to my cultural necessities. Although the teachers I had were great individuals, none of them could understand how discouraging it can feel to look inside a textbook and not see anyone that matches your ethnicity, to read about the alleged heroes who murdered those who looked like you, and to never once be taught the positive impacts your community has made. Understanding the negative impacts of these one-sided portrayals, I want to empower students by teaching them about their powerful and dynamic cultures through history.
Future Plans: By bringing more representation in the school’s curriculum, I wish to motivate students in their studies and future successes to get them to a place where they are not only learning about history but creating it as well.