Lawmakers in at least 15 states are attempting to pass legislation that would require teachers to lie to students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout U.S. history.
In response, educators across the United States are signing a pledge to teach the truth.
To raise public awareness about the danger of these bills, we invite educators to make that pledge public in gatherings nationwide on Saturday, June 12, 2021. This invitation is extended by the Zinn Education Project (coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change) and Black Lives Matter at School.
This is a national call. While bills and budget resolutions are being proposed (and in some cases passed) in specific states, the threat to teaching — and the need for solidarity — is everywhere.
Join An Event Near You
People are signing up to participate from all over the United States. Some are planning virtual events, others gatherings of anywhere from 1 to 100+ people at historic sites. The events below are open to others to join. We continue to add more as they are scheduled. You can also take and share a photo on your own — see further below.
Anchorage, Alaska | 3:00 pm AKT
Meet at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Hosted by the Alaska Coalition of BIPOC Educators. Teachers will read pledges. Learn more and RSVP.
Tucson, Arizona | All day online
To challenge SB1532, people are invited to share stories about places in Southern Arizona history that could not be taught under the bill. Learn more.
Springdale, Arkansas | 11:00 am – 1:00 pm ET
Gather at Trail of Tears marker at Old Wire Rd and Randall Wobbe Lane. Learn more and RSVP.
Berkeley, California | All day (online)
The UCB History-Social Science Project will highlight important events in local history on their social media thread. Follow @UCBHSSP
Suisun City, California | TBD
Teachers are convening at the Suisun City plaque dedicated to the Patwin Native American Tribe.
Washington, D.C. | 11 am – 12:30 pm ET
Meet at the African American Civil War Memorial. Hosted by the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice and the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum. Speakers include SNCC veteran and museum founder Dr. Frank Smith and the WTU president. Learn more and RSVP.
Statewide, Iowa | 1:00 – 2:30 pm CT (online) | Black Lives Matter at School-Iowa is hosting a Virtual Town Hall for Black educators, parents and students to discuss the impact of the legislation and honor the stories and experiences of Black Iowans. RSVP to receive Zoom link.
Waterloo, Iowa | 12:00 noon
Organized by the a group of teachers – current and retired.
Louisville, Kentucky |10:00 am ET | Carl Braden Memorial Center
Russell Springs, Kentucky | 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET (online) | The Foster Woods Folk School will host a virtual teach-in called “Illegal Lessons” via Facebook stream. See the full schedule (lessons and presenters) and RSVP.
Yarmouth, Maine | 9:00 am ET | Gather at Walter Gendall Memorial Plaque, Route 88, Yarmouth (Approximately across the road from #17 Lafayette Street) Learn more and RSVP.
Concord, New Hampshire | 4:00 – 5:30 pm ET | Courage Over Censorship: A March & Meditation on the Consequences of HB 544 at the NH State House. Participants are encouraged to bring a book that changed their perspective on systemic racism/inequity that might be considered “divisive” under the new law and treat the event as a giant book swap. Learn more and RSVP.
Dover, New Hampshire | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET | Meet at Henry Law Park. Organized by Project Dream and We Speak. Learn more and RSVP.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET | Meet at Prescott Park. Organized by New Hampshire Leaders for Just Schools, Rise of Peace, and Racial Unity Team. More information.
New York City, New York | 11:30 am – 12:30 pm ET | Faculty and students from NYU will gather at Stonewall. All are welcome. Learn more and RSVP.
Greenville, North Carolina | 2:00 pm ET | Gather at Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza, organized by NC Civil and Parents for Public Schools. Learn more.
Raleigh, North Carolina | 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm ET
Shaw University, where SNCC was founded with Ella Baker; meeting between Tyler and Leonard Halls (off S. Wilmington St). Organized by a group of professors.
Cleveland, Ohio | 1:00 pm – 1:20 pm ET | Meet at the Old Stone Church, historically significant as a fill up during the “northern journey.”
Springfield, Ohio | 11:00 am – 12:00 noon
A family is convening outside of Perrin Woods Elementary School 11am-12pm to share local Black history as told to them by their elders.
Youngstown, Ohio | 12:00 pm ET | Meet at the former Northside Pool, 2160 Belmont Ave. Hosted by local educators and the Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past. Learn more and RSVP.
Portland, Oregon | 10:00 am – 11:30 am PT | Japanese American Historical Plaza (Waterfront) 10:30am PT with Oregon Educators United Learn more.
Portland, Oregon | 11:00 am PT
Vanport Mosaic at Pittock Mansion. History tour. Learn more and register.
Portland, Oregon | 1:00 pm PT | Colonel Summers Park, 20th Avenue Learn more and RSVP.
Portland, Oregon | 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm PT | Oregon Holocaust Memorial in Washington Park. Learn more.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm ET | Meet at the President’s House and Protest Park, 6th and Market. Hosted by Black Lives Matter at School in coalition with other groups. Local and state representatives are among the speakers. Learn more and sign up. Facebook.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm ET Gather at Schenley Plaza. Hold a sign or hand out a flyer. Learn more and RSVP.
Bristol, Rhode Island | 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET
Meet at Independence Park. Organized by Towards An Anti-Racist North Kingstown (TANK). Learn more and RSVP.
Belton, Texas | 2:00 pm ET | The Black Ladies Advancing Qualitative & Quantitative Change and Bell County Democratic Party are convening at the Bell County Court House. Learn more and RSVP.
Houston, Texas | 2:00 pm
A high school teacher is leading a discussion in Emancipation Park about how to #TeachTruth in the face of the 1836 Project. Read more.
Memphis, Tennessee | 10:30 am CT | Meet at site where Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, Nathan Bedford Forrest ran a market of enslaved people from 1854 to 1860, then walk to the marker for the 1866 Memphis Massacre at Army Park and the National Museum of Civil Rights. Read details.
Provo, Utah | 1:00 – 8:00 pm MT | Come to the Black Lives Matter Utah-Black History Museum Bus@Provo Towne Centre to make the pledge, take pictures and video, and share with the hashtag #TeachTruth. An open-house-style event. Read details.
Harrisonburg, Virginia | 9:00 am ET
Gather at the Lucy Simms Center, named for a woman who had been enslaved and who went on to become an influential teacher in Harrisonburg.
Richmond, Virginia | 9:00 am ET | Meet in front of the Daughters of the Confederacy’s national headquarters, ”ground zero” for the construction of and dissemination of harmful, revisionist narratives of U.S. history. Learn more and RSVP.
Seattle, Washington | 1:30 pm PT | Hosted by Social Equity Educators and WA Ethnic Studies Now. The event includes speakers and a walking tour of historic sites. Learn more and RSVP.
Silverdale, Washington | 1:30 pm PT | Silverdale Waterfront park sits on Dyes Inlet. Learn more.
Falls Church, Virginia | 12:00 noon ET
Meet at Tinner Hill Historic Park. Learn more.
Statewide, West Virginia | 2:00 pm ET (online) | A team of West Virginia University students have posted a map of suggested historic sites for teachers to visit and take a photo with their pledge and they are hosting an online convening. Learn more and sign up.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin | 10:00 am CT | Meet at 200 block of E. Buffalo St., site of the 1861 lynching of George Marshall Clark. Speakers include students, teachers, and representatives from community and unions and school boards. Hosted by an at-large representative and District 3 representative of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors. Learn more and RSVP.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin | 10:00 am CT | Meet at McKinley Marina, site of a 1971 action to establish a K-8 Indian Community School. Coordinated by the Black Educators Caucus MKE and Cuitlatoani Cualliyolotl Xiuhtecuhtli. Learn more and RSVP.
On Your Own
No event in your area? You can still participate. Find an historic site (history is everywhere!). Take a photo with one of our signs or make your own. (We’ll send you signs when you sign up.) Tweet to #TeachTruth
Social Media Images
Once you sign up, we’ll send you a toolkit full of images like this one that you can use on social media.
We offer a folder of signs for the June 12 Day of Action. Some you can use as is, others are designed for you to add your own pledge. Or make your own sign.
How to Participate
- Select a site in your town or city that symbolizes or reflects history that teachers would be required to lie about or omit if these bills become law, which is already the case in some states. The site could be identified by an historic marker, statue, archive, burial ground, or museum.
- Organize a rally at the site (or online) with fellow educators, family members, students, and community members. The group can be any size. If you don’t have time to organize a group, pick a site and go on your own or with a friend. Every voice and action counts!
- You could invite teachers to read their pledges and students to share why learning the truth about history is important to them
- Post photos and videos to social media with hashtags: #TeachTruth
- Once you sign up, we will send you a Tool Kit with sample graphics for social media, press advisories, how to respond to frequently asked questions, and more.
Yes, you can still participate. Select an historic site, and on your own or with others, take a photo with your pledge and share on social media with #TeachTruth.
We are planning more actions for late August. We will post the events that others are planning on this page: https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/aug-27-29-teach-truth-days-action/ Check back periodically to see if there is one in your area.
Yes, you can plan an action in Canada. Sign up here https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/aug-27-29-teach-truth-days-action/
I love your work, site and activism. As an American. I would like to participate in “Teaching the Truth”, but I live in Canada. Is there a way I can still participate? Thank you for your message and incredible efforts in this necessary work of telling the truth of our history to our children.
A whole history includes all voices. If we lie to our students about their collective history, how can we teach them to think for themselves? I pledge to teach the truth!
Teaching the truth is what matters. Only through the truth will all people be truly free!
Where do we find events in our area? I can’t find a list anywhere and is like to join someone else’s is there’s already one planned in my town
For years I resisted pressure from some people in the community I worked in to “whitewash” American History. Uncomfortable topics allow students to openly discuss how things could be handled differently and more justly.Those who deliberately forget history are doomed to repeat it.
My students, many of them immigrants from Nicaragua are researching the racial injustice and genocide presently occurring in Nicaragua with the Miskito Indians. Their lands are being taken away to raise cattle and supply American corporations like McDonalds and Walmart with meat. This meat covered with the blood of the Miskito people including children, is in turn sold to the American public for hamburgers and other uses. All students and the American people must become aware of this in order to be able to bend the arc of history towards justice for all.
Teaching the truth, including about racial injustice past and present, is critical to educating our children. We must know accurate history and current events in order to be active members of a democracy and to be able to bend the arc of history towards justice, as Dr. King asked us to do. I refuse to teach lies to students.