To respond to the right-wing legislation across the country, which attacks racial justice teaching, the Zinn Education Project organized a “Pledge to Teach the Truth” and invited educators to say why they refuse to be intimidated. Here are a few of the more than 5,000 pledges that had been signed by July. The Zinn Education Project is coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.
How is it possible to teach about civics without discussing racism? How will our nation ever move past racism if it can’t acknowledge that it happened in the first place?
Middle school social studies teacher, San Antonio
I want it to be known that I was one of countless educators nationwide who taught kids to identify, understand, and work to end racism, sexism, white supremacy culture, and the silencing of marginalized voices from our curricula.
Elementary teacher, Hillsborough, North Carolina
Students deserve to see themselves in the history they learn, as they continue to rewrite it and to add their own narratives.
Middle school social studies teacher, Elizabeth, New Jersey
The lies support white supremacy and I refuse to be another cog in the machine that perpetuates gross inequalities.
High school history teacher, Decatur, Georgia
My 7th and 8th graders are smart, perceptive, and caring young people. They don’t want to be fed a whitewashed version of U.S. history. They want to know the fullness of it, so they can come to a deeper understanding of where we’ve been, and how we can create a more just society and world.
Middle school teacher, Chicago
The road to freedom hinges on the youth knowing the raw and rugged truth about the systemic ills of this country. Through truth our young people can imagine and fight for a new world where we are all free.
—Tiffany Mitchell Patterson
University social studies teacher educator, Morgantown, West Virginia
Without an honest history, unapologetically, we cannot complete our national reconstruction.
High school history teacher, Fresno, California
It is essential that I teach my students the true history of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people in the United States and around the world. I will not stand down as legislators try to hide the truth from our students.
High school social studies teacher, West Palm Beach, Florida