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LGBTQ+ Groups Fight School Censorship With 'Teach the Truth' Day

LGBTQ+ Groups Fight School Censorship With 'Teach the Truth' Day

Stonewall Inn, Sojourner Truth statue, and Stonewall National Museum

There will be events across the nation Saturday to promote honest teaching about racial and LGBTQ+ issues.

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Events will take place across the U.S. Saturday for the Teach the Truth Day of Action, designed to counter far-right efforts to quash teaching about racial and LGBTQ+ issues.

The events are coordinated by the Zinn Education Project, named for the late historian Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, along with Black Lives Matter at School and the African American Policy Forum.

Cosponsors include several LGBTQ+ organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, COLAGE, and Stonewall National Museum and Archives, plus other civil rights and educational groups, such as the National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center, Color of Change, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, and many more.

This is the third year for the observance, and “the situation is urgent,” says a statement on the Zinn Education Project’s website. “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.”

A sampling of the events:

In New York City, the historic Stonewall Inn, site of the uprising that was key in launching the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement, will hold a teach-in on LGBTQ+ history from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Roots to Revolution. Roots to Revolution is also offering a three-session online course on the topic, “Queer in America: A History of Activism and Solidarity,” to be held the next three Wednesdays.

The Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will host a conversation beginning at 12 noon. Transinclusive Group and Prism are cosponsors.

Washington, D.C.’s All Souls Unitarian Church will hold a community sing led by lesbian musician Toshi Reagon from 6 to 8 p.m. It will feature songs from Octavia E. Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower.

In Northampton, Mass., there will be a tour and book distribution at the Sojourner Truth Memorial, which honors the eponymous abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Sponsors are the David Ruggles Center and Mount Holyoke College. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Another famed abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, will be honored at an event in Newark, N.J. From noon to 3 p.m. in Harriet Tubman Square, home to a newly unveiled statue of the activist, there will be a teach-in, a youth poetry performance, information tables, and a book giveaway.

In Kansas City, Kan., local educators will share books by LGBTQ+ authors and authors of color, and will speak on the importance of critical thinking and a full understanding of U.S. history. There will be a potluck lunch and rally as well. Events begin at 11 a.m. at Quindaro Park.

In Iowa City’s College Green Park, near the residence of abolitionists who supported John Brown, there will be live music, and a book exchange, and teachers will be invited to pledge to teach truthfully and defend LGBTQ+ rights. Activities run from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be a few events on other days. At Salt Lake City’s Sugar House Park, the site of the demolished jail where labor organizer Joe Hill was wrongfully executed in 1915, there will be an event Sunday at 11 a.m., featuring information about Hill’s life and death, light refreshments, and sing-alongs of songs Hill wrote.

There will be online events as well. A full list of coast-to-coast events is available here.

From left: Stonewall Inn, Sojourner Truth Memorial, Stonewall National Museum and Archives

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.