Events By State
Below are the Teach Truth Day of Action sites for 2023. Stories and photos from a few of the sites will be added soon.
1977 Books, an abolitionist bookstore and community space, hosted a form on the history of redlining — a topic that could be banned from being taught in Alabama’s schools with the onslaught of legislation promoting classroom censorship. There was also a discussion on concerns with the attacks on teaching real history in Alabama. Free banned books and lunch were provided. The event was on June 10 from 12 noon – 2:00 pm, hosted by ACLU of Alabama and SPLC’s Learning for Justice.
Twenty five Arizona Education Association retired executive board leaders had a short Teach Banned Books discussion at a summer planning retreat. Teach Banned books buttons and resources were provided.
Los Angeles, California
About 100 people attended Family Fun Day at Step One Preschool. Organizer Madeleine Rogin said, “In addition to making fairy wands and necklaces, and playing with bubbles, our families visited our Teach Truth table, where we had on display several of our favorite children’s books that have shown up on banned books lists around the country, along with printed descriptions of the reasons for the bans. We also had literature available for people to read about the day of action. Families decorated giant picture frames and had their pictures taken holding the books.”
In support of teaching truth a small gathering of 29 Augusta members met at the Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange of Sacramento to speak out against anti-history education bills, pledge to #TeachTruth, and defend LGBTQ+ rights. This event was held on June 10, 9:00 am – 10:00 am. Hosted by 29 Augusta.
San Diego, California
Students from Bonita Vista High School rallied on the Memorial Day holiday to oppose attacks on teaching history and book bans. To facilitate student participation before the end of the school year, this Teach Truth Day of Action event was held in advance of the national June 10 national mobilization.
Teachers and students spoke at the event and took photos with books they had studied this year. High school teacher Don Dumas, who organized the event, noted,
Book bans are inappropriate in a free society. Anti-CRT legislation is inappropriate in a free society. Anti-LGBTQIA+ policies are inappropriate in a free society. I’m so proud of my students, their parents, and other community members for coming out and challenging these efforts.
The event was hosted by the staff and students of Bonita Vista High School at Memorial Park in Chula Vista on May 29 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Read more and see photos and video clips.
Many community members saw the march and expressed support for the cause. The event was organized by a classroom teacher who is a Prentiss Charney Fellow. They met at the Marin Alibi Bookshop at 10:00 am on June 10.
New Haven, Connecticut
Possible Futures Bookstore. June 10, 10:00 am – 11:00 am ET. And Tango Makes Three: A Teach-Truth Day of Action Event Celebrating Queer Parents and Caregivers. Storytime reading of And Tango Makes Three, and thanks to Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, attendees receive a free copy of the book. This event was co-sponsored by the Anti-Racist Teaching and Learning Collective.
African American Civil War Memorial
Two SNCC veterans, Dr. Frank Smith and Judy Richardson, were featured speakers. Teachers shared their pledges to teach truthfully and donated books on the contraband themes of the history of racism in the United States, climate justice, and/or LGBTQ+ identities.
Community Sing with Toshi Reagon
At the “Songs of the Living” community sing with songs from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower with Toshi Reagon, attendees took photos with the #TeachTruth photo frame. The event was on June 10 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at All Souls Unitarian Church.
Brevard County, Florida
Foundation 451 gave away banned books on June 10 at a table close to Pride and Juneteenth events.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Twenty people gathered for Donuts and Conversation, engaging in difficult conversations about Florida today. The discussion was held at the Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library, the largest LGBTQIA+ library in the world on June 10 at 12:00 noon. Hosted by the Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library and co-sponsored by Transinclusive Group and Prism.
On June 10, PRISM hosted a rally against censorship in our schools at Torch of Friendship. The event educated participants about banned history and an educator shared the chilling effects of educational gag orders and book bans.
St. Augustine, Florida
The monument pays tribute to those who participated in the 1964 SCLC St. Augustine Movement. Regretfully, no one showed up for the tour.
Butler has experienced first hand the need for the Teach Truth campaign. As is explained on his website, “In January 2022, he was scheduled to give a seminar on the topic for a group of K-8 teachers in Osceola County, Florida, when it was cancelled by the county school board for fears that it contained references to ‘Critical Race Theory.’ The cancellation of a history seminar for teachers prior to start of Black History Month for political reasons attracted national, and even international, news. Dr. Butler’s work is meant to showcase often difficult and uncomfortable histories in a political atmosphere where such truth has faced tremendous legislative resistance. He believe that only through encountering our past honestly and within its proper context can we realize the American promise for all people equally.”
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Participants heard from Andrew Zonneveld, a local bookstore owner who grew up in the area, Richard Rose, President of the Atlanta NAACP, who has tirelessly campaigned against the Georgia committing taxes to honor the Confederacy and Ku Klux Klan, Clint Monroe, a member of the Stone Mountain City council who seeks to uplift voices other than men who fought for white supremacy, and Gabrielle Rogers, a founding member for the Stone Mountain Action Coalition and a tireless activist for the safety and well-being of the citizens of Stone Mountain.
The first Black woman elected mayor of Stone Mountain, Beverly Jones, gave a tour of Shermantown showcasing Eva-Mamie Lane. Mayor Jones also introduced participants to Reverend John C. Terrell who will turn 102 in December. She outlined her bold vision to expose the buried histories of Stone Mountain and Shermantown and to end the celebration of Confederate and Klan leaders. The event convened at Stone Mountain Park on June 10 at 10:00 am. Hosted by the Stone Mountain Action Coalition and Community Books of Stone Mountain.
Also see Day of Action to change Stone Mountain Park via Fox 5.
Latino leaders, including elected officials, community activists, educators, labor and civic leaders convened on Saturday, June 10, at 9:00am, at the National Museum of Mexican Art to address the assault on public education across the country.
USHLI president, Dr. Juan Andrade, said
Self-righteous autocrats are terrorizing our public education system at every level. Dedicated school trustees are being harassed, threatened, and driven out of office by politically manipulated candidates. Administrators are being pressured to resign or fired for speaking truth to power. An already dwindling pool of teachers is getting smaller as more and more teachers are quitting because public officials in positions of authority are refusing to do anything that would protect the health and safety of students and their teachers.
Books for readers of all ages, whose authors are primarily Indigenous, Latino, and people of color, are being banned indiscriminately for the slightest hint of truthfulness and authenticity. The history of any ethnic or racial group’s struggle for civil rights or socio-economic justice is being erased. This assault on education only serves to undermine the integrity of democracy, violate civil and human rights, diminish the quality of education, deprive students of their freedom to learn, and is fundamentally un-American, an assault on civil society, which will take an entire generation to reverse, repair, and restore.
The speakers included Karen Moore (IL Director, National Education Association), Maria T. Moreno (Financial Secretary, Chicago Teachers Union), Hon. Jesús G. “Chuy” Garcia (Congressman, District 4-IL, U.S. House of Representatives), Gloria Castillo (Director, We Rise Together), Jose Rico (President, NEIU Board of Trustees), Hon. Celina Villanueva (Senator, District 11-IL, Illinois State Senate), Hon. Alma E. Anaya (Commissioner, District 7, Cook County, IL), and Hon. Michael D. Rodriguez (Alderperson, 22nd Ward, City of Chicago).
Iowa City, Iowa
News story: Residents discuss LGBTQ+, book bans, and race at protest in Iowa City in Iowa News Now
There were at least 75 people over the course of the Teach Truth event at College Green Park in Iowa City, near the residence of abolitionists who supported John Brown. People mailed postcards to politicians, school board members, and educators — either to encourage or thank them for standing for youth and truth. People shared in a series of speak-outs.
There were state senators and representatives, educators, teachers who have been driven from the profession, historians, scholars, youth activists, peace activists, Indigenous activists, parents, and most importantly, young people and those further marginalized by the recent spate of legislation. Young spoken word poets brought tears to many, as they shared about how they had been saved by something as seemingly simple as representation in curriculum. A compendium of audio clips from the event was aired during the People Power Radio Hour on 89.7 KRUI on July 22 at 5:00 pm.
People were urged to sign the Zinn Education Project pledge to teach truthfully. There was an incredibly successful book exchange, including banned and challenged books.
Local nonprofits and organizations offered ways to join in their work which overlaps with the vision of this event. There were representatives from the Iowa ACLU and local nonprofits including Antelope Lending Library, Great Plains Action Society, Corridor Community Action Network, and LGBTQ+ Library and Archives. The event was on June 10 from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Hosted by UE Local 896 COGS, Corridor Community Action Network, Iowa WTF, and Antelope Lending Library.
Kansas City, Kansas
After a few rally chants, there were five local speakers who shared powerful words about the importance of teaching truth and about the importance of organizing to make sure teachers are supported in sharing the truth about the United States.
The speakers included:
- Nakia Hope, a local descendent of a man who escaped slavery into Quindaro five generations ago. She has now taken over fundraising for the Old Quindaro Museum, following in her fathers’ footsteps.
- Nikki Richardson, who talked about the Kansas City, Kansas police detective who has been convicted of corruption, murder, rape, among other charges. She noted the need not to label students of color because that makes them more vulnerable outside of school.
- America Patton, explained that what makes the United States unique is the diverse cultures that can come together to do incredible things and that it is necessary to stay encouraged.
- Connie Brown Collins who has organized a voter network in Wyandotte County to push back against “Parent Bill of Rights” laws and anti-LGBTQ laws in the legislative arena.
- Cornell Ellis spoke about the need for truth to be taught because students are dependent on it for survival.
It was a powerful two hours that ended with a call to action to take the pledge and use the voter guides provided by event organizers to contact local legislators and demand that they support all students regardless of identity and not vote for these harmful bills. Many participants commented on the great time they had and how they were motivated to keep working for justice in schools. Elected official attendees included, commissioner Melissa Bynum, commissioner Andrew Davis, KCKPS school board member Rachel Russell, KNEA president Sherri Schwanz, NEA director Angie Powers, KCK-NEA president Dom Derosa, and Tom Alonzo, Equality Kansas State Board chairman. The event was hosted by a coalition of groups, including SURJ-KC, Education Core (Showing Up for Racial Justice); BLOC KC (Brothers Liberating Our Communities-Kansas City); NEA-KCK (National Education Association-Kansas City, KS); Equality Kansas, Justice For Wyandotte, Wyandotte High School PTSA, NEA Shawnee Mission Educators for Racial, Social Justice Voter Rights Network of Wyandotte County, and Latinx Education Collaborative.
Overland Park Johnson County Community College. June 24, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm CT. Hosted by The 802 United. Children’s story time with book giveaways. Light lunch will be provided. Learn more and RSVP.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Teach-in on LGBTQIA+ history, spotlighting the UpStairs Lounge with connection to resources from The Archives Project, at the Tate, Etienne, Prevost (TEP) Center had twenty people in attendance. A’Niya Robinson, Advocacy Strategist for the ACLU of Louisiana, spoke about different ways we can advocate not only for the LGBTQIA+ community, but for our intertwining histories and voices. This event was hosted by Roots to Revolution and the ACLU of Louisiana on June 10 between 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.
New Orleans, Louisiana
A. P. Tureaud Civil Rights Memorial Park, the site honors civil rights activists who fought for 25 years to have a library in their neighborhood. Annual Plessy Day event in honor of Homer Plessy and early civil rights activists. June 10, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm. Hosted by the Plessy and Ferguson Initiative. Free copies of Together: An Inspiring Response to the “Separate but Equal” Supreme Court Case That Divided America by Amy Nathan, which was recently banned in Florida. The Plessy and Ferguson Initiative would like to use their platform to join the national outcry over book banning and erasure of Black history from curriculum.
The #TeachTruth Book Exchange at Belfast Maine Pride successfully received over 20 donated books that found new homes among the 350+ participants at the Belfast Pride celebration. Pride marchers were encouraged to bring a book to donate that features LGBTQIA+ characters or themes. Teachers, librarians, parents, teens, kids, and other community members stopped by the booth to discuss the importance of defending the freedom to learn and read diverse books. A few educators and community members took photos with the pledge signs, and many more read the materials at the booth and picked up flyers. The Teach Banned Books coloring page was a big hit among elementary-aged attendees. The event was on June 10 at 11:30 am.
Showing Up for Racial Justice Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (SURJ3A) organized a Reparative Genealogy Teach-in at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, a cornerstone of Eastport’s African-American community. SURJ3A shared, “Thirty-eight people attended an inspiring #TeachTruth teach-in on June 10, where they learned about the Reparative Genealogy Process from Briayna Cuffie and the Reparative Genealogy Experience from Lynda Davis. Rebecca Benzer followed with her own family tree story. We closed with a Banned book exchange.”
Centre Green. June 10, 10:30 am ET. Bring #TeachTruth signs in support of LGBTQIA youth.
On Sunday, June 11th members of the Ethnic Studies Organizing Committee held a successful Teach Truth Day of Action Teach-In. The event celebratied the history and legacy of the Boston Chapter of the Black Panther Party. It began at the Boston Liberation Center, was attended by over 60 people — including three former members of the Black Panther Party of Boston. Members of the Boston Ethnic Studies Organizing Committee and volunteers with the Boston Liberation Center facilitated an art build station and distributed free breakfast, t-shirts, posters, and educational materials related to the history of the Black Panther Party.
The Speakeasy Print Shop in Salem designed and silkscreened “WE TEACH THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY” t-shirts and posters free of charge.
Former Black Panther Party members Charles “Cappy” Pinderhughes, Edith Bazile, and Jabir Pope shared their experiences as members of the Black Panther Party and educated the public about the history of the Black Panther Party. They also emphasized the need to continue to unite, build solidarity, and struggle against the forces of the right.
After hearing from BPP veterans, participants marched to the former headquarters of the Black Panther Party in Boston at 375 Blue Hill Ave. The site is currently occupied by Caramelo Bakery. The owner of Caramelo was contacted in advance and allowed the group to place a sign in the window to mark the location as the former headquarters of the Black Panther Party of Boston.
The educators, students, community members, and BPP veterans gathered in front Caramelo and heard from Boston Public School Ethnic Studies teachers Amrita Dani and Andrea Mejia. Amrita and Andrea connected the history of 375 Blue Hill Ave. and the Black Panther Party with the struggle against the attacks against public education, anti-racist teaching, and LGBTQ+ people in the present day. They were joined by University of Massachusetts professor of Africana Studies Anthony Van Der Meer, who is currently under threat of termination due to similar attacks against Africana Studies at UMass and other institutions of higher learning. Hosted by members of Ethnic Studies Now Committee.
Eighteen participants gathered at the Sojourner Truth Memorial for the national Teach Truth Day of Action. Mount Holyoke College vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion was the event MC. She welcomed folks, honored the educators in her family, and closed out the event with a call and response of an Amanda Gorman poem. She was followed by a local archivist who spoke about the importance of studying history and the collective responsibility of attendees and made the connection of participants representing DEI practitioners, librarian, bookseller, and elder community members being well positioned to provide access to information. The owner of Northampton’s Odyssey Books talked about banned books and counter efforts such as the Sanctuary for Banned Books at Coral Gables, Florida Congregational Church. In solidarity with the day of action, the bookstore is offering discounts on banned books until the end of September and has a bingo deck for customers. The program also included a lecture on Sojourner Truth’s time in Northampton and the community of abolitionists she was a part as she spoke to the injustices of slavery and sexism. The event was on June 10 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am ET. The David Ruggles Center led the tour. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Mount Holyoke College DEI Office and in partnership with LITS.
Thirteen retired educators, current teachers, adult educators, families and allies gathered to remember Earl Little, the father of Malcolm X. Event organizer, high school teacher Miriam Walden explained, “We pledged to teach the true history of Black people in Lansing and to focus on the resistance and joy of our Black and Brown community. We told stories about our roles in education as well as their own childhood experiences. We pledged to honor the sovereignty of the Anishinaabe people by teaching about the contemporary and culture of the First Peoples. We remembered that East Lansing, in 1972, became the first city in the United States to ban discrimination against LGBT people and discussed how voting rights for young people was in important part of the success the Gay Liberation movement. We also delivered books (many of which have been banned at one point or another) to the Child Life program at Sparrow Hospital where Earl Little died.” The event was held on June 10 from 10:00 – 11:30 am with a walk on E. Michigan Avenue from the place where the father of Malcolm X, the activist Earl Little, was hit by a streetcar in suspicious circumstances to the Sparrow Hospital where he ultimately died. They stopped to chalk the sidewalks on the way with historical info deliver banned children’s books to the hospital.
St. Paul, Minnesota
There were student and community led workshops, guest speakers and artists, open mic, Teach Truth pledges and more at the St. Paul Public Schools Ethnic Studies Student Showcase at the Washington Technical Magnet Secondary on June 10 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. Hosted by St. Paul Public Schools Critical Ethnic Studies department.
Vernon County Democrats sponsored a Teach Truth booth during the annual “Bushwhacker Days” city festival. They provided information about issues in education, environment, and legislation that are important and distributed Teach Banned Books postcards and buttons. They plan to share the have the display and distribute postcards again at the Missouri State Fair in August.
West Wendover, Nevada
Sixteen people visited the West Wendover public library to participate in the Teach Truth day of action. It fostered the opportunity to address much of the disinformation being spread about what is being taught in our schools and educated attendees about the importance of teaching students a complete and truthful picture of history. This event was held on June 10 from 12 noon – 1:00pm by a local teacher.
Neptune, New Jersey
During the Zeta Epsilon Chapter of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. Juneteenth Celebration in Neptune, New Jersey, the sorority members highlighted the importance of teaching inclusive instruction and offering diverse books for young people in schools. They “educated and encouraged parents and students to advocate for teaching diverse literature and to speak out about book banning.” The events was on Springwood Avenue and Midtowns Commons Parks on June 17 from 8:30 am – 11:00 am.
The New Jersey events in Madison, Newark, Princeton, and Red Bank below were coordinated by individuals and groups across the state organizing together under the #TeachTruthNJ banner to demonstrate solidarity for education justice and to defend all students’ rights to learn in caring school environments where their identities are represented in the curriculum. They note: New Jersey is not immune to the attacks of the Right — book ban protests concerning gender equity have been occurring in places like Sparta and Glen Ridge. The Amistad legislation has resulted in very few districts incorporating Black history into their curriculums. Groups include: Radical Pedagogy Institute, T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center; MapSO Freedom School; Transformative Education Network at Montclair State University; Radical Pedagogy Institute; Mutual Morris; NJEA Consortium; Make It Better for Youth; Education 4 Us, By Us; Education for Liberation Network; People’s Organization for Progress; South Orange-Maplewood Education Association; and Source of Knowledge Bookstore.
Newark, New Jersey
In Newark, Teach Truth NJ held a rally and book giveaway at the Harriet Tubman Statue on June 10 from 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm. Tables were set up around the newly installed Harriet Tubman Monument in a downtown park also renamed after the freedom fighter. Close to 100 people visited the resource tables and circled around the microphone to listen to poetry, a reading from a banned book, and numerous speakers. A. Scott, a former public school teacher, had this to say,
I left the rally committed at a deeper level to fighting for high-quality and equitable education for Black and Brown children and the right to teach the lived experiences of marginalized folks in schools at all levels. It filled my heart to see so many educators committed also. As a public school teacher, I was unaware of educators challenging the status quo; none existed in the schools where I was employed.
Madison, New Jersey
Teach Truth NJ’s Morris County group hosted a teach-in on June 10 from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon at Rosedale Ice Skating Rink, facilitated by educators and students on LGBTQIA+, education, environmental, and mutual aid topics. Participatory activities included calls to action, a community caring exercise, and organizing a follow up educational event.
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton teachers, professors, students, and community members gathered on Saturday, June 10 at the Princeton Battle Monument to discuss the hidden history of slavery, current efforts to ban such truth telling in classrooms, and individual commitments to teach the truth and defend the rights of all students.
We are here because we know the truth. We know that the true threats to students and to our future are white supremacy, mass shootings, and the climate crisis – none of which right-wing legislators are making any effort to address.
Knowing our history is how we get free.
Red Bank, New Jersey
Red Bank organized a presentation on book banning by the Red Bank Public Library, a tour of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, and a book giveaway at Pride in the Park. A Coffee and Talk started at 11:00 am. At 12:00 noon, educators, community leaders and attendees discussed the effects of book banning, silencing effects of removing and restricting educational materials that are truthful historical accounts or those that create visibility and affirm LGBTQAI+ people. From 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, participants had two options: tour the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center and learn about T. Thomas Fortune’s activism, legacy, and impact, or participate in a snack and chat at Riverside Gardens, then engage with a mini-library and educational resources.
Brandie Waid, co-founder of Radical Pedagogy with Leah Owens, said,
The most powerful piece for me was the youth presence. The banned books presentation at T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center began with a powerful poem, recited by a youth activist, and in Pride in the Park, the excitement of the youth who visited the table and learned we were giving away banned books, free of charge, was contagious. I left with a reminder that we are not in this work alone and a front row seat to the youthful joy makes it all worth it.
Williamstown, New Jersey
Pfeiffer Community Center. June 10, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET. Hosted by Betty Deaton Literacy Foundation and Kitabu Kings & Queens Reading Group. Participants brought a book to discuss and share what has inspired them to be racial justice advocates.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This event was coordinated by Albuquerque high school teacher and Prentiss Charney Fellow Nick DePascal and held on June 10 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.
Bronx, New York
Bronx educators from the social justice caucus within the United Federation of Teachers called the Movement of Rank and File Educators gathered on June 19 at 12:00 noon to do a book giveaway on Fordham Road, outside of NYC Department of Education’s offices. MORE Caucus gave away over 200 books to Bronx families. (It was rescheduled from June 10 due to the smoke-filled air in New York.)
Brooklyn, New York
P.S. 261 Zipporiah Mills in Brooklyn held a banned book swap after school on Monday, June 12. First, they collected books that were banned or challenged in other parts of the country from staff and community members. They invited everyone in their school community to bring a book to swap out or donate, and to take a book of choice. They also held a raffle to raise funds for Foundation 451, a mobile library of banned books for young people in Florida and one of the day of action cosponsors. The raffle winner received a collection of banned books. The event organizers noted that hosting this event was in alignment with their new school name, honoring the legacy of school leader Zipporiah Mills.
Brooklyn, New York
On June 10, at Hattie Carthan Playground between 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, educators shared their commitment to teaching truthfully, parents shared why they want their children to have an uncensored education, and students shared why learning the truth about history and respecting all identities is important to them. There was a banned book nook with story time, button and sign making stations, poetry readings, and more. How a Brooklyn school is embracing education about race, bias and identity in Gothamist. This event was hosted by Arts & Letters 305 United Educators, Students & Caregivers GSA and Rainbow Room.
Brooklyn, New York
Weeksville Heritage Center. Event was postponed due to climate change induced smoke-filled air. An interactive event focused on disrupting master narratives, monument-making, and public memory around Juneteenth. Through engaging with Kinfolk’s interactive digital media resources and drafting our own visions for a Juneteenth monument, a multi-generational group, led by youth voice, will collaboratively explore the question “How can we #TeachTruth by sharing the authentic story of Juneteenth and what it means to the Black community in Brooklyn?” Hosted by Weeksville Heritage Center, Kinfolk, 40 ACRES Archive, artist Sandy Williams, and New Visions for Public Schools.
New York City, New York
In a teach-in at the Stonewall Inn, participants had a discussion about the role of transgender activists in catalyzing the gay rights movement of the late 1960s. Event host Jillian Gaeta said, “We talked about what we can learn from their activism as people today working to fight for LGBTQIA+ rights. It was great to have an intersection of generations at our event, there were people who attended who remembered the riots first hand and young folks who are starting their journey in activism.” The event was on June 10, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Hosted by Roots to Revolution. Roots to Revolution is also offering a 3-session online course, Queer in America: A History of Activism and Solidarity.
Rochester, New York
Seventeen students and teachers took a trip to the “home place,” as Dr. Bettina Love speaks of in her book, We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, the 19th Ward Neighborhood. Event organizer Kai Strange wrote, “We visited the Arnette Library, which will be 100 years old this fall, and heard from local leaders who have lived in and served the community for over twenty years. We also stopped by Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School and John Walton School #16, in addition to building community over lunch at the Arnette Café. Our trip consisted of eight students from the new cohort of the ROC Urban Teaching Fellows Program, a collaborative teacher residency program run by the Rochester City School District, the Universities of Rochester’s and Nazareth’s inclusive education programs. Students learned a little about the history of the 19th Ward community in Rochester, as well as ways in which they can become member of the community in which they will serve.”
Reidsville, North Carolina
High school teacher Valencia Abbott engaged her students in research and documentation about the Griggs v. Duke Power Company Supreme Court case. In 1966, 14 Black employees filed a complaint with the EEOC claiming that they were discriminated against in hiring and promotion at a power plant in North Carolina. Five years later, the Supreme Court delivered its landmark unanimous ruling prohibiting discriminatory practices by employers. There will now be a marker placed to teach others about that historic case. Abbott selected historic locations related to the case for #TeachTruth Day of Action. Read more.
Thirty people attended the Teach Truth Day of Action in Salem, Ohio. High school teacher Heather Smith welcomed the group. Five students from Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past shared what they had learned about Medgar Evers and made connections to today’s bills and how they go against his work. Penny Wells, director of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, encouraged everyone to vote and take 100 people with them to vote as well, especially in the upcoming August elections. Michael Charney led a powerful speech before the historical walking tour. Ginger Grilli, former head of education at Salem’s Historical Society, shared Salem’s history along the tour, starting with Edwin Coppock’s memorial. Waterworth Memorial Park. June 3, 1:00 pm. Hosted by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) of McDaniel High School hosted a #TeachTruth and #FreedomToRead photo booth in their school library. Dozens of teachers showed up to participate on June 9 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.
On June 10, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, Lancaster Friends School partnered with local queer owned business, Pocket Books Book Shop, to promote the Teach Truth Day of Action. Banned books were displayed and read by students and families. Shoppers, members of the Lancaster Friends School community, and others gathered to discuss teaching true history, the issues around banned books in our area, and what they can do to address these issues.
On Saturday, June 10, Black Lives Matter Week of Action Philly, Melanated Educators Collective, and the Gumbo Lab hosted a Teach-in at the President’s House, Independence Mall.
Attendees listened to a liberation playlist, speakers, and a poem called, “Morning Class 10C: Critical Race Theory Edition.” Closing remarks by Indigenous Peoples Day (IPD) Philly expressed how the attacks against truthful history also include the the erasure of Indigenous and Native history. This event intended to not only bring to light that Philadelphia ranks #3 in the number of banned books, but to also say NO to the Marriott for welcoming the Mothers for Liberty conference to Philadelphia, while sharing some amazing curriculum for teachers and parents.
These organizations had tables: Philadelphia Writing Project, Philly Children’s Movement, BARWE (Building Ant Racists White Educators), School District of Philadelphia (Social Studies Department), MOVE archival team, and Making Worlds Bookstore, which included an interactive visual art making table and pop-up shops. Teaching for Change had a Banned Books Display. Philly Children’s Movement featured their Radical Little Library.
Providence, Rhode Island
Approximately 50 people came to the Providence Teach Truth Day of Action. Providence collaborated with a local public library (Rochambeau Library) to host a community event with different activities. There was a photo booth, button making and found poem station, speakers from various identity groups who have been organizing locally (elected officials, parents, educators, librarians), a banned books puzzle, and a community art project where a community scrapbook quilt book was created. This will be a permanent installation in the library.
There was also a legislative action table with on-site phone banking, postcards, and emailing of elected officials and information about Rhode Island legislation relevant to this work.
The speakers included: State Representative Jennifer Stewart (also an educator), Ruben Castillo Kuperman (Providence high school student), State Senator Tiara Mack, Riley Soule, Youth Pride, Deanna Theilig Brooks (teacher librarian), Sye Menebhi (educator), Paul Pasaba (educator), and State Representative Enrique Sanchez. Participants were invited to sign on to the TeachTruth RI campaign and read testimony from Rhode Island students, educators, parents, and community members.
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Supporters of Teach Truth gathered in Fort Mill, South Carolina, at the site of the former George Fish School. This Rosenwald School was the town’s longest operating school for African Americans. The group of 15 included teachers, parents, and local advocacy group members. While holding signs for traffic passing by, each person explained why supporting teaching truth was important to them. They convened on June 10 from 12 noon – 1:00 pm ET.
St. Helena Island, South Carolina
The Penn School, one of the first schools for formerly enslaved people, is a National Historic Landmark District and part of Reconstruction Era National Park. They offered guided and self-guided tours from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on June 10 for the Teach Truth day of action.
In a teach-in at EdCoLab, the Educators’ Cooperative discussed lessons learned from Dr. Jarvis Givens’ Fugitive Pedagogy to encourage more teachers to read the book and to engage with their communities of support and growth. Fifteen people from area public, private, and charter schools participated. The event opened with quick introductions and key take-aways from the book. Then, participants joined four mini-workshops that intended to help everyone take the next steps:
- Community Connections and Nashville History: Where have we been as a city and what can we do to connect with the larger community as teachers and learners? Led by Mark Peek and Elois Freeman
- Fugitive Pedagogy and the Performing Arts: What are the lessons we can learn from performing arts classrooms for finding opportunities to exercise our discretionary power? Led by Nita Smith, a member of The Princely Prayers chorus. She added singing performances to her workshop.
- A Growing Web of Resources Connected to Fugitive Pedagogy and Continued Learning: How can we keep learning and growing? What books does Dr. Givens cite and use as resources? Led by Carlton Adkins
- White Teachers Confronting and Adapting to the Lessons of Fugitive Pedagogy: How can white teachers learn, grow, model, and lead in this work? Led by Alecia Higginbotham Ford.
A shared feeling throughout the event: “We are doing the work that needs to be done — not reading about it, not dreaming about it, but actively doing it.” This event was on June 10, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon.
Three members of the Amarillo Education Association, local NEA affiliate, collaborated with Aunt EEK’s Books & Curiosities, a local bookstore, to engage passersby during the Route 66 Festival. More than a dozen people were willing to share their feelings on why we need to teach the truth. Many were unaware of the attacks on books and marginalized communities. June 10, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
Teachers gathered at Buffalo Bayou Park, near the Dandelion Fountain on June 10 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am.
Volunteers for Students Organizing for Abolition and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s Education Department set up a table at the community space, Axelrad. They featured a display of banned books for folks walking by to review the titles, discuss their thoughts on book bans, and scan the Teach Truth Pledge QR code. People also had the option to scan a QR code that highlighted a local news article about books being banned in Houston.
About 100 people walked through, including a few families. About 30 people stopped by to talk. One visitor shared that she and her children, who are now in college, enjoyed reading many of the titles (for younger readers) on banned lists because it has taught them so much about humanity, including their own. Many folks stopped by just to express their solidarity. The table was on June 10 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Students, parents, and educators visited the interactive display at the Main Library to learn about the book bans happening across the country, including books that are banned or being threatened in local districts, and read a few books in the display. Visitors were appreciative to learn how books and knowledge are being censored and were excited to find new books they want to read. Main Library. June 10, 10:30 am – 11:30 am MT. Hosted by the Zinn Education Project and Ogden NAACP.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Political education, light refreshments, and some sing-alongs of songs Joe Hill wrote at Sugar House Park, the site of the demolished Sugar House Jail where Joe Hill was wrongfully executed in 1915. Hosted on June 11 at 11:00 am by the Democratic Socialists of Salt Lake. Participants learned about the life and death of Joe Hill, Swedish-American labor organizer and Industrial Workers of the World member.
Eliot Street and Hilltop Montessori Middle School. June 4, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET and June 10, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm ET, respectively. Hosted as a part of the larger 50th anniversary community celebration for Hilltop Montessori School. Tabling and teach-in.
On June 10, participants gathered at the Sacred African Burial Grounds in Shockoe Bottom from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm to learn about Shockoe Bottom’s historical significance and had the opportunity to browse and swap their favorite banned books. The group gave an offering to the land and burial ground, and shared why they support the freedom to learn and teach the truth. Here are some of their statements,
Teaching truth benefits everyone regardless of your background, regardless of your experience. It benefits everyone.
What we don’t want is history erased. So many places I hear people talking about how they are banning the books and telling them they can’t teach Black history. Black history is American history.
Banning books does a disservice to the next generation.
I basically only use banned books in my literature circle because I refuse to let my students only interact with this hero-fication of our national mythology.
Books were my friends. Books took me places to place I never dreamed of going. It opened up a world of things that I never knew I would experience.
The freedom to learn and teach the truth benefits us all and helps us to know what we do not understand. It brings us closer to loving and understanding each other and dreaming new possibilities of ways to be and coexist.
Loudoun County, Virginia
A teacher and colleagues had a banned books display at the Gum Spring Library on June 10 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Some families expressed appreciation and the teacher was invited to set up a similar table at another library in the region over the summer.
Bainbridge Island, Washington
This was the third annual event on Bainbridge Island, as described in this news story, “Protesters want the rest of the story told” via Kitsap Daily News. Sign making began at 9:30 am on June 10 at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (BIHM). There were speakers at 10 am, followed by a march from BIHM to the library, where there was a panel discussion. Coordinated by the Kitsap ERACE Coalition in partnership with H.E.A.L. Together.
Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (WAEYC) hosted a Teach Truth event to defend children’s rights to read books that reflect their diverse identities, and to learn full and accurate history. On June 10, outside of Bellevue Library, WAEYC displayed banned books, played videos of banned books read on YouTube, and had conversations with library patrons as they entered or left the library between 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Many curious children talked about the books that they read at school and wondered why they were being banned in other states.
A representative from the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (WAEYC) handed out flyers on censorship outside of the public library and had conversations with those interested in learning more. This was on June 10 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
Moments in Bremerton. June 10, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm PT. Hosted by Kitsap IWW. Interactive booths, activities, and lessons learned for all ages. Learn more.
Renton educators, Houston family members, and community supporters attended the Teach Truth Day of Action. The Renton Education Association organizers shared, “[We met at] Honey Dew Elementary School playfield, the nearest public space to land that was taken from the African American Houston family in 1969 by the Renton School District. Twenty-four attendees grappled with the meaning of reparations and our individual and collective responsibility to fight for justice, and engaged in a talking circle to discuss possible reparations for the Houston family, who were forced to sell their family farm. This event supported and increased visibility for the Houston Family to help pressure the school district to respond to the request for reparations, and is building a coalition of folks who will continue to fight for the school district to reckon with its racial history and responsibility. Kids were welcome, and chalk and games were available.” Learn more.
Fifty people joined the the Seattle Student Union, NAACP Youth Council, WAESN Youth Advisory Board, WA LYAC, and students of Seattle Public Schools for a teach-in and story share at Washington Hall. June 10, 3:00 – 5:00 pm PT.
Public Market. Broad Street. June 10, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon CT. Hosted by PAGE – People Advocating for Greendale Equality. We offered zines or coloring pages about Juneteenth and gave away 100 free copies of Kwame Alexander’s Light for the World to See! Learn more.
Green Lake Conference Center, which is within 5 miles or so of several likely “sundown towns.” June 10, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm CT. Hosted by Wisconsin Gospellers.
In addition to the events listed above, there were events planned at schools that are for staff and students only in Portland, Oregon; San Rafael, California; Germantown, Maryland; Rochester, New York; and more cities.
Map of Activities
National Online Events
SWEEP Salon: Teach the Truth: The Right to Teach Truthfully About U.S. History June 6, 7:30 – 8:30 pm ET Salon hosted by Red, Wine, & Blue with guest speakers Deborah Menkart, executive director of Teaching for Change and co-director of the Zinn Education Project, and Jesse Hagopian, teacher, Rethinking Schools editor, and Zinn Education Project leadership team. Learn more.
Responding to Attacks on Critical Race Theory and DEI June 10, 10:00 am – 12 noon ET. Francesca López, Alan Singer, and Jeremy Young will discuss Critical Race Theory and DEI. Following the video, participants discuss strategies for responding to attacks on Critical Race Theory and DEI. Online via Zoom. Learn more.
Teaching Truth: Cultivating Curiosity and Compassion with ‘The 1619 Project’ June 10, 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm ET. Hosted by The Pulitzer Center. A workshop that will deep dive into a primary source, analytical essay, or creative work from The 1619 Project, while using tools and strategies developed by Pulitzer Center staff and our growing community of educators and students across the country who are teaching 1619. Participants will then connect to brainstorm how the resources and themes from the project can support their curricula and goals for their students. The event is free, but registration is required. Learn more.
Conversation with Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw June 12, 2023 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm ET. Dr. Crenshaw, co-founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum, has described the right’s use of CRT as a “classic kind of disinformation propaganda campaign that comes from moments like these when a particular group of people have no agenda other than a fear-mongering, scapegoating agenda. This is a tried and true strategy. So the main thing I want people to try to do is consider the source, draw the connections, see where the funding is coming from, see where the contradictions are.” This session is part of the Zinn Education Project’s Teach the Black Freedom Struggle online people’s history series and in coordination with the Teach Truth Day of Action. Free. ASL and professional development certificates provided. Learn more.
In solidarity with the #TeachTruth Day of Action, Seven Stories Press offered 200 free copies of their new book, Voices of a People’s History of the United States in the 21st Century to 200 middle and high school public school teachers, school librarians, and teacher educators. The books are being claimed by teachers in Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, and more states. One teacher wrote, “Thank you for providing resources of such intellectual wealth.” Another said, “We are completely overhauling our social studies curriculum and trying to get rid of the textbook. This book would be so helpful in adding a diverse perspective to the lessons.”
In solidarity with the Teach Truth Day of Action, Borders to Bridges is offering free digital copies of Borders to Bridges: Arts-Based Curriculum for Social Justice between 6/3 and 6/21 for people who email a request.
Authors Michelle Coles, Chris Barton, Alice Faye Duncan, Zetta Elliott, Marita Golden, Clifford Conner, Tameka Fryer Brown, and more have recorded messages of solidarity. Are you an author, artist, filmmaker, athlete, teacher, librarian, or anyone else with a following? Add your voice.
All Year Long
It is not too late. You can still plan and host an event.
- Pick a site that should be taught (can pertain to history or voting, climate, housing, LGBTQ+ rights, etc.).
- Go on your own or gather family, friends, and/or students.
- Take a photo with a sign (one of these or make your own).
- Share on social media with #TeachTruth and/or email to email@example.com