For the past two summers, teachers rallied across the country at historic sites to speak out against anti-history education bills and to make public their pledge to teach the truth. These actions, the AAPF #Unbanned Book Tour, and the 2023 Freedom to Learn Day of Action, have been the only national protests of this dangerous legislation.
The teacher-led rallies received national media attention, providing a valuable counter narrative to the oversized coverage of the well-funded anti-CRT movement.
Once again, we invite educators, students, parents, and community members to rally across the country and pledge to #TeachTruth and defend LGBTQ+ rights on June 10, 2023.
The situation is urgent.
Lawmakers in at least 44 states have introduced legislation or pursued other measures that attempt to require educators to lie to students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, and other forms of oppression throughout U.S. history. These laws and restrictions have been imposed in at least 18 states. The Right has declared war on teaching the truth about structural racism and sexism and on LGBTQ+ youth.
Books by Black, Indigenous, authors of color, and LGBTQ+ writers are increasingly being banned.
As Jesse Hagopian points out,
Just as the Red Scare and the Lavender Scare were used to purge teachers from the late-1940s through the early-1960s, the current attacks on what history deniers have labeled “critical race theory” and “gender ideology” are directly connected.
In Florida, Gov. DeSantis’s so-called “Parental Rights in Education” bill — better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — prohibits classroom instruction related to gay, lesbian, or transgender issues, and sexuality or gender identity more broadly. Florida is one of six states that censor discussions of LGBTQ+ people or issues in school, and one of eighteen that bans transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.
While claiming to “protect” young people, the right-wing legislators block any efforts to address gun violence (the leading cause of death for young people) and the existential threat of climate change.
This is a national call.
Although bills and budget resolutions are being proposed (and in some cases passed) in specific states, the threat to teaching — and the need for solidarity — is everywhere.
We invite people to participate from all over the United States. You can plan a virtual event or gathering at a historic site. From our freedom to vote to our children’s freedom to learn, to everyone’s freedom from gun violence, certain politicians want to overturn the will of the people and block the policies we need for our students, families, and communities to thrive. By coming together, we can rewrite the rules to ensure safe, affirming, and welcoming schools and the freedom to learn for our children — across race, place, and gender identities — no exceptions.