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 CampaignIn October 2020, The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) launched the #TruthBeTold Campaign, a coalitional initiative to push back against Executive Order 13950 and the effort to silence those advancing honest conversations about the implications of America’s unequal past.

After unprecedented global protests for racial justice following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, right-wing groups across America instigated and intensified a well-funded disinformation campaign against Critical Race Theory, intersectionality, and other forms of racial and gender justice. Starting with Donald Trump’s equity gag order (EO 13950) banning federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients from conducting training sessions 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 EO 13950’s rescission at the federal level, twenty-three (23) states (AL, AR, AZ, CT, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KY, LA, MS, MT, NC, ND, NH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA) have enacted racial and gender equity prohibitions. Across the country, this moral panic over what and how we learn about history has led to teachers being fired, courses canceled, and books authored by Black and LGBTQ+ authors banned. 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.

More books are being banned in schools and libraries than 10, 20, or 50 years ago. According to a report by PEN America, 1,648 unique book titles were banned from July 2021 to June 2022.

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 tactics, they are the latest round in a long campaign to prevent social progress from eliminating structural inequalities.

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, punish, and 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 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 DemocracyWe must take action now to resist these attacks on our history.