AAPF’s MISSION – Founded in 1996, The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) is an innovative think tank that connects academics, activists and policy-makers to promote efforts to dismantle structural inequality. We utilize new ideas and innovative perspectives to transform public discourse and policy. We promote frameworks and strategies that address a vision of racial justice that embraces the intersections of race, gender, class, and the array of barriers that disempower those who are marginalized in society. AAPF is dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, both in the U.S. and internationally. To learn more about AAPF please visit www.aapf.org.
AAPF’s #TruthBeTold Campaign – After unprecedented global protests for racial justice that followed the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, right-wing groups across America instigated and intensified well-funded, orchestrated disinformation campaigns against critical race theory, intersectionality, and other forms of racial and gender justice discourse. Starting with Donald Trump’s Equity Gag Order banning federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients from conducting trainings and programs that address systemic racism and sexism, this campaign has now morphed into a full-on war against racial and gender justice itself.
Since its recession at the federal level, the Equity Gag Order has since metastasized at the state and local level. Under the Trojan horse of opposing an invented caricature of “critical race theory,” at least sixteen states (AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, IA, ID, MT, ND, NH, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA) have fully passed racial and gender equity prohibitions while at least 15 others are actively considering them. In addition, similar copycat bills have been introduced by Republicans in Congress.
Across the country, this moral panic over what and how we learn about history has led to teachers being fired and courses canceled. Parents have been deceived, tensions have been stoked, and over a half century of efforts to amend the misleading narratives about our history are being reversed.
In 2021-2022, 1,648 Books Were Banned – 41% feature LGBTQ+ Characters or Themes , 40% feature Characters of Color, and 21% feature themes of Race and Racism
The movement to stop educators from teaching history and structural racism in our classrooms comes from the same white supremacist principles as the Jim Crow laws that sought to segregate Black children into underfunded schools. Banning books and classroom teachings about racial injustice are not new ideas, they are the latest tactics to prevent social progress from eliminating structural inequalities.
More Books are being banned in schools and libraries than 10, 20 years or 50 years ago. According to a report by PEN America, 1,648 unique book titles were banned from July 2021 to June 2022. We are currently on a path back to a dark past in which a small minority decides and enforces what everyone else can and cannot read. Segregated knowledge is a feature of a segregated society.
Attacks on thought and reading are part of a larger assault on our democracy that includes rampant voter suppression efforts directed at communities of color and the proliferation of lies about the integrity of our electoral system. It is no surprise that the same forces funding these anti-democratic efforts with millions of dollars are also behind attempts to further marginalize LGBTQ+ students and suppress the teaching of gender equality and sexual education; these are branches of the same poisonous vine.
The hateful drive to suppress, to punish, to silence Black voices stretches from the earliest days of enslavement to current efforts to ban Critical Race Theory, The 1619 Project and other Black literature.
If you marched last year for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, if your eyes were opened by what you have seen and learned about race and racism in our society, if you have witnessed the value of anti-racist education in your own and in your children’s lives, then don’t be confused by the lies. To learn more about AAPF’s #TruthBeTold Campaign please visit www.aapf.org/truthbetold and read our latest toolkit How the Attack on Critical Race Theory and Anti-Racism is a Threat to Our Democracy. We must take action now to resist these attacks on our history.