Black History Is American History Campaign Launched in Response to Governor Youngkin’s Whitewashing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2022
The Leadership Conference Education Fund: Charmaine Riley, [email protected], 202.548.7166
People For the American Way: Kawana Lloyd, [email protected], 240.472.2860
NAACP: Jonah Bryson, [email protected], 443.202.5188
WASHINGTON – In response to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s so-called “tip line” to report teacher behavior and his executive order prohibiting the teaching of so-called “inherently divisive concepts,” The Leadership Conference Education Fund, NAACP, and People For the American Way today launched the Black History Is American History campaign, an initiative to elevate the central role of Black history in America’s history and push back on the whitewashing efforts of Governor Youngkin. The campaign will share directly with the governor’s office the widespread support for inclusive curriculum and teaching that provides students with the accurate information they need to lead a diverse Virginia into the future.
“Governor Youngkin’s misguided and ignorant attempt to whitewash history and gag educators only builds on the legacy of discrimination against Black and Native communities across Virginia,” said Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund. “We are here to say that our children deserve access to inclusive and accurate history, whether they are Black, Latino, White, Native American, or Asian American. We owe our students the opportunity to wrestle with the difficult aspects of our history so that they are prepared to create a more just and equitable future.”
“Censoring history, banning books, and restricting classroom conversations are the acts of Far-Right fascists. The mere fact that Governor Youngkin is following in those footsteps should be very, very disturbing for all Americans,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “Americans are Black, Americans are gay, Americans are immigrants, Americans are transgender, Americans are Asian, Native American, and Latino. Suppressing any community from our children’s history lessons, books, and classroom conversations will raise a generation that is ignorant, intolerant, and divisive. We live in a democracy, and we believe in inclusion, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought. We cannot allow a United States governor to follow in the footsteps of racist, fascist regimes.”
“We are announcing this campaign to state proudly and unequivocally that Black History Is American History, and that Virginia students have a right to accurate and unbiased instruction in school,” said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way. “Governor Glenn Youngkin’s effort to suppress the teaching of history and encourage people to inform on public school teachers is in the worst tradition of authoritarian politicians everywhere. Make no mistake: Book-banning is a hallmark of fascism. We are joining with Virginia parents, students, and teachers to nip Youngkin’s effort in the bud and send a message that Virginia families will not tolerate or condone Far Right censorship in schools.”
The campaign has focused on Virginia in light of the governor’s actions, as well as the central role of Virginia as the arrival point for the first enslaved Africans, the birthplace of the first two presidents, and as a significant player in the resistance to Brown v. Board of Education.
To share your story and connect with Governor Youngkin, visit BlackHistoryIsAmericanHistory.org or Tweet using #BlackHistoryIs.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal and state policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit www.civilrights.org/edfund/.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s largest and foremost grassroots civil rights organization. The mission of the NAACP is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights and social justice in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work by visiting www.naacp.org.
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org