This blog post is by staff from Color of Change, a Unite Against Book Bans partner.
Since January 2021, 18 states have imposed legislation or policy that bans or restricts the teaching of Black history in public schools, including how teachers can discuss racism and sexism in the classroom. Similar legislation or policy restrictions have been introduced in 26 other states, according to an Education Week analysis.
Unsurprisingly, the same pattern can be seen in book banning and censorship efforts currently on the rise in communities across the country. The books most frequently targeted for removal from schools and libraries are those by and about members of historically marginalized communities, including Black communities.
We can’t allow these efforts to erase Black history and silence Black voices to succeed. Color of Change, the National Education Association, and the Unite Against Book Bans campaign are working together to empower supporters to take action.
Join Color Of Change on Tuesday, Dec. 5, for #DefendBlackHistory School Board Training, where you’ll learn about the role and power of local school boards to affect your children’s education and how to organize your network to make your voices heard. You’ll leave armed with information about how school boards function and empowered to defend Black history and make your voice heard at your next school board meeting.
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, in the #DefendBlackHistory Storytelling Workshop, we’ll equip you with the tools you need to show up confidently at your local school board and city council meetings to share your story. Participants will learn how to craft their narrative, address the issues at stake, and demand more for our students from their local school boards.
There also will be special opening remarks by Rashad Robinson, Color Of Change president, and Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, at both free, 90-minute virtual events.
You, too, can fight back. Already, hundreds of people have attended COC’s training sessions because they understand so much is at stake. Books by Toni Morrison, whose work has been recognized with the prestigious Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, are among the banned titles. Use your voice to ensure quality education for children by defending Black history. Reserve your place in one or both of COC’s upcoming #DefendBlackHistory training sessions hosted in conjunction with the National Education Association. Then make a plan to attend your local school or library board meeting and speak out against censorship.
The attacks on education and books that contain our history and tell our stories are increasing. The erasure in public school systems of Black history and books by Black authors and that feature Black people must end now. We believe the best way to combat this is to lean into our collective power and pressure decision-makers to defend and protect Black history and literature. In partnership with the National Education Association, Color Of Change is excited to share space with you and build our collective power! RSVP today!