Pledge to #TeachTruth Media Toolkit

This Teach Truth Media Toolkit is for anyone seeking to communicate with the media about the dangers of anti-history education legislation and the importance of teaching truthfully. The media toolkit was originally designed for the Teach Truth Days of Action, so there are references throughout to the Teach Truth pledge and Days of Action. There are also sample outreach documents and messaging that can be used for a #TeachTruth event or action at anytime.

Contents

Key Statements FAQs

Media Engagement Media Outreach

OutreachAdditional Resources

 

Key Statements

Here are key talking points. In each case, we have included a one liner for social media and interviews, followed by additional details for longer documents or conversations. Also read the FAQs.

What 

IF YOU SAY ONE THING: #TeachTruth is a commitment by educators to teach full and accurate U.S. history and current events. It is call to raise awareness of the dangers of lying to students about the existence and persistence of structural and systemic racism, and all forms of oppression. 

IF YOU SAY MORE:

    • Legislation has been introduced in more than 42 states that would ban teaching the truth about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout U.S. history. Learn about the bills here.
    • Efforts to ban the teaching of the truth go beyond statehouses, with NBC News tallying at least 165 local and national groups organizing to disrupt social justice education by swarming school board meetings, inundating districts with time-consuming public records requests, and filing lawsuits alleging discrimination against white students (NBC News). 
    • Ignoring historic facts will maintain today’s systems of oppression, rather than help us create a more just and equitable world. 
    • Being able to name, identify, and understand structures and systems of oppression threatens the status quo. When we know about injustice, we can mobilize and organize against it.
    • Educators are fighting back by signing a Pledge to Teach Truth, and gathering at historic sites during our Days of Action to raise public awareness about the danger of these bills. 
    • This is a national call. Although bills and budget resolutions are being proposed in specific states, the chilling effect on teaching truth is a threat to all of us everywhere. 

Why

IF YOU SAY ONE THING: Knowledge can help create a more just society. When young people study the roots of injustice, they can address those root causes and shape a better future for everyone.

IF YOU SAY MORE:

    • To teach the history of racism in the United States is also an opportunity to teach the history of movements to end it. These movements have always been multiracial, multiethnic, and built across lines of gender and class. Understanding this can be an incredible and powerful source of unity for all students. 
    • When we know the truth about our past, we understand our present, and see opportunities to build a different future.
    • Not acknowledging the country’s actual history, including racism and other oppression, is deception, not education. Teaching young people about centuries of resistance to that oppression is empowering.
    • Those invested in upholding structures of systemic racism see the growing movement to teach truth — and are doing all they can to stop it. They know if young people learn the truth about our past and our present, they will be informed and even inspired to work to change systems of oppression moving forward. 

Call to Action

IF YOU SAY ONE THING: Pledge to Teach Truth!

IF YOU SAY MORE . . . 

    • TO EDUCATORS: Educators, sign the Pledge to Teach Truth. 
    • TO PARENTS: Support teachers who TeachTruth and testify how teaching the truth has inspired their children. 
    • TO ALLIES AND SUPPORTERS: Support young people in becoming critical thinkers. Show solidarity with educators. 
    • TO LEGISLATORS: Tell your legislators: we do not accept bills that will censor educators and force them to lie.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following FAQs can be used to prepare for interviews and to inform your talking points, content, and conversations regarding the #TeachTruth campaign.

Based on interviews to date, the questions may address critical race theory (CRT), the language of the bills, school curriculum, and more. We provide suggested responses and strategies to help you keep the focus on your teaching and why it matters. 

Reporters may want to focus on critical race theory; Amanda Marcotte explains in Salon why the right wing has latched on to that term:

It is important to note that the fabricated fury over “critical race theory” is a cleverly constructed right-wing troll. Liberals who want to respond with a quick, easily digested rebuttal are instead boxed into a frustrating corner. Because pointing out that critical race theory is not being taught in public schools is a trap, as it could be construed to imply that there’s something wrong with critical race theory. And any straightforward defense of critical race theory implies that schoolchildren are somehow expected to understand graduate school-level academic theories. But in fact, the real issue at hand is that conservatives don’t want white kids to learn even the most basic truths about American history.  

When reporters come out of the gate with critical race theory, it’s playing the opposition’s game, which we don’t have to do. We recommend that when possible, pivot away from the question as it obscures what is at the heart of the legislation being introduced.

In order to pivot, you can say things like, “I am happy to discuss that with you but first let me address why we are protesting this legislation.” If people are intent on you specifically providing an answer to the question on CRT, you can pull from our examples below.

For each of the responses, we provide a short answer for a quick statement and a more detailed response for longer interviews.

 

QUESTION: Is critical race theory currently being taught in schools? 

ONE SENTENCE: Critical race theory is an antiracist approach to understanding the legal system  that most people won’t encounter until college, but schools can and should teach students to be critical of racism in history and today — and to question the roots of the profound racial inequality in our society.

-or-

Use this line from the New York Times: “While few K–12 educators use the term “critical race theory,” discussions of systemic racism have become more common in American schools in recent years. . .”

MORE DETAILS: If some teachers and schools incorporate the insights of critical race theory into their curriculum and practice that is a victory in the struggle for more equitable schools. All of us can and should teach students to critically analyze racism in history and today. Teachers have to address racism and systemic racial structures when teaching about the history of the United States and current events. To not do so is a disservice to our students and a violation of our professional responsibility. 

Two examples where the insights of critical race theory might show up in a K–12 classroom are the struggle for voting rights and educational justice. 

    • Voting rights: Students learn that laws can be racially discriminatory even if they appear racially neutral. For example, voting restrictions that require a state-issued ID or limit the number of polling places or days of early voting may seem on their face neutral, but they primarily disenfranchise poor, Black, Brown, disabled, and rural voters. Students learn that voting rights has been an ongoing issue in the history of the United States and by studying that history it helps us understand the present. 
    • Education: Students learn that schools today are more segregated than they were 50 years ago. In order to understand why, students study the limitations of Brown v. Board of Education and the persistence of other challenges to educational equality. 

 

QUESTION: Why are Republicans and the right wing media so focused on critical race theory right now?  

Remember to pivot to the responses you want to give.

ONE SENTENCE:  “Critical race theory” is a term being thrown around now to confuse people. Since most people are unfamiliar with the term, it gets used as a catch-all for anything the Right doesn’t like. What’s actually happening is that Republican lawmakers, in their attempt to stop students from asking questions about inequality and racism, are trying to stop teachers from teaching a fuller, race-conscious history of the United States. 

MORE DETAILS: Lawmakers have referenced critical race theory — and conflated it with any kind of anti-racist teaching, such as the New York Times 1619 Project or Black Lives Matter in Schools — in connection with any lesson or training that acknowledges the existence and persistence of racism. It is an ambiguous container that has little to do with what educators are actually doing each day in schools across the country: trying to teach students how we got to where we are so that they are clear-eyed about how we might move forward.

 

QUESTION: Doesn’t teaching about racism undermine national unity? 

ONE SENTENCE: No. In fact, it’s just the opposite — racism is what prevents unity. Teaching about racism is simply teaching the truth about our society and giving young people the tools to create a more just future.

MORE DETAILS: We cannot cure a disease we have not properly diagnosed. Helping students understand the history and the reality of the world they live in will help them understand how to make it better. Here are some examples of ways racism shows up in U.S. society: 

    • For decades, policies have kept Black Americans from building generational wealth. The average net worth of a white family is at least greater eight times than a Black family.   
    • A Black woman is more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes than a white woman.
    • Black students are more than  three times more likely to be suspended from school than white students.
    • Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged more than 170 percent so far this year.

To teach the history of racism in the United States is also an opportunity to teach the history of resistance. These movements have always been multiracial, multiethnic, and built across lines of gender and class. Understanding this can be an important source of hope and unity for all students. 

 

QUESTION: Isn’t teaching about systemic racism divisive? 

ONE SENTENCE: No. In fact, it’s just the opposite. What’s divisive is racism. Racism is one of the most tried and true methods that those in power have used to divide and conquer.  Understanding racism isn’t divisive. Learning about movements and people of every race and ethnicity that came together to challenge racism isn’t divisive. Instead, this kind of teaching promotes unity for a more equitable world. And we cannot allow politicians to hide the truth from students about these facts to satisfy their narrow definition of “patriotic education.” 

MORE DETAILS: Many of the most important changes in U.S. law came about through criticism of the practices that were part of law at one time — and challenging these practices. Remember, the entire Underground Railroad was an illegal movement. Movements for justice often had to break the existing laws to fight for the things that have contributed to greater freedom and justice in the United States. Indeed, without criticism and activism, slavery would not be outlawed, women would not have the right to vote, interracial marriage and gay marriage would still be illegal, labor laws would not have been enacted — the list is endless.

 

QUESTION:  Shouldn’t we keep politics out of public education and prohibit teachers from indoctrinating students with their personal views?

ONE SENTENCE: Helping students think critically about how racism has worked in our society over time is not indoctrination, it’s education.  

MORE DETAILS: The truth is, students are discussing issues about race and racism all the time. They are talking about their experience of segregation in schools, or the latest viral video of racist violence. They talk about these things in the hallways, on the playground, or on the school bus. The question we have to answer is: Are we going to allow educators to help provide context and a safe space for these conversations? Or are we going to make education irrelevant to our students by ignoring some of the most important issues facing our society? 

Teachers have to be free to teach about the “Trail of Tears,” Chinese Exclusion, the Tulsa Massacre, or the internment of Japanese Americans without worrying that they will be attacked for being political. 

States and school districts seeking to ban students from learning about systemic racism or sexism in an age-appropriate way do a disservice to them by censoring the very conversations students are eager to engage in, and underestimating students’ ability to develop analytic tools that embrace nuance and complexity. These laws infantilize our youth and render them less prepared to help build a more just and inclusive society.  

 

QUESTION: Are you teaching that all white people are racist or trying to make white students feel guilty?

ONE SENTENCE: No. We are teaching students history so we can better understand the present and how we can move together into a better future. 

MORE DETAILS: We need to remember that although individuals can espouse racist ideas, the most damaging effects of racism come from institutions and structures. Not all white people say or do racist things — but they do live in a society with structures and institutions that grant privileges to them because of their race. 

Students should be taught that inequality is systemic so that individuals recognize that they alone cannot fix it, nor are they alone responsible, but that we need to build multiracial solidarity to create system-wide change.

An honest account of the past teaches about white people who advocated for racial justice, and who can serve as models for white children.

By learning the history of how these inequalities were created and opposed, students see that what was built can be taken apart. 

 

QUESTION: What will be the impact on teaching if these laws pass? Do teachers have to abide by them while they are being litigated? 

ONE SENTENCE: The objective of these proposed laws is to create a chilling effect so that, whether they pass or not in a particular state, teachers everywhere will fear teaching the truth about racism.

MORE DETAILS: In states where the laws have already passed, there are an increasing number of teachers who pledge to follow their conscience and teach the truth about racism while lawsuits challenging these laws make their way through the courts. See Oklahoma example.

 

QUESTION: Why do you say that by following the prohibitions made in these bills would require teachers not to tell the truth about U.S. history?

ONE SENTENCE: The truth is that racism played a fundamental role in our nation’s history. If you can’t teach that, you can’t teach the truth, nor can you teach history itself. 

MORE DETAILS: Systemic racism and sexism are not hypothetical; they are facts. The United States grew as it did when white people seized Indigenous peoples’ land, expelled them and enslaved Africans. When this country was founded, political and legal rights were limited to white male landowners. White and male elites extended rights  to women, people of color, and people of all income levels only in response to concerted organizing efforts that continue to this day. These are historic facts. Teaching them is teaching truth. Knowing the truth about the past can help create a more just future.

These bills — and similar measures on the local level —  prohibit teachers from helping students understand the causes of the massive inequalities we see today. There is no way to explain the enormous racial wealth gap without explaining redlining, and there is no way to explain redlining without explaining Jim Crow, and there is no way to explain Jim Crow without explaining enslavement. Helping students see those connections across time — the systematic nature of racism — is imperative to understanding our history and  the world today.

 

QUESTION: Will these laws impact the ability for teachers to use resources from the Zinn Education Project or Black Lives Matter at School if they work in states where there aren’t bills to ban them?

ONE SENTENCE: These proposed laws are intended to have a chilling effect — so whether they pass or not in a particular state, teachers everywhere will  fear teaching the truth about racism and any other topic the proponents don’t like, whether it is women’s rights, climate change or any other substantial social issues. 

MORE DETAILS: The Zinn Education Project and efforts like Black Lives Matter at School support educators so they don’t feel intimidated or alone in teaching the truth.

Even in places where there are no new laws, these attacks affect educators who have to spend time defending what they’re teaching once parents and others have been misinformed or scared into  thinking that what teachers are teaching is divisive. Most parents, when informed, support critical teaching about important social issues and see how engaged their children are when they study these topics. Oregon example

 

QUESTION: If you don’t live in a state with a bill that’s pending or passed, what can you do to support those who do?

ONE SENTENCE: Teachers can pledge their support for teaching the truth at the Zinn Education Project website.  Additionally, there are national days of action scheduled for June 11 – 12 to support educators in states with bills that ban teaching structural racism and to help stop those bills from spreading to other states.  

 

QUESTION: What is the 1619 Project?

ONE SENTENCE: The 1619 Project is a New York Times series designed to help readers better understand the struggles and contributions of Black people in the United States. It “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.”

 

QUESTION: What is critical race theory?

ONE SENTENCE: Critical race theory is a field of legal study that explores the way race is socially constructed and has been used over time to maintain white supremacy.

MORE DETAILS: Critical Race Theory (CRT) was developed by legal scholars in the 1970s and 80s (by Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and others) to analyze racism in the legal system.  

CRT has a few major themes that it applies to legal studies:

      1. First, that race is a social construct that doesn’t have anything to do with biological differences among people.  
      2. Second, while race is not a biological reality, white supremacy exists in our society and part of the way it maintains power is through the legal system — even when that system purports to be colorblind . 
      3. Third, white supremacy can be challenged and a society without racism in its laws and structures is possible. 
      4. Read more. 

 

QUESTION: Why should anyone care, if they live in states where these bills have not been introduced?

ONE SENTENCE: The objective of these proposed laws is to create a chilling effect so that, whether they pass or not in a particular state, teachers everywhere will be fearful of teaching the truth about racism.

MORE DETAILS: These bills are not just about history but are about what is going on right now. They attempt to deny students models of activism for making our communities more fair today. Anyone who cares about democracy, should care about this attack on public education.

 

Media Engagement

Use the key statements and FAQs as talking points when being interviewed by the media. Additionally, here are some best practices to keep in mind, videos to review, and guidelines for writing op-eds.

Best Practices

    1. Practice your talking points in advance of any interview.
    2. During the interview, remember to stay focused on your key messages.
    3. Keep your remarks brief and to the point to ensure your message gets through. 
      • The more you talk about things that are not your most important points, the greater a chance a reporter will select something for a quote that is not your main point.
    4. You can signal to a reporter what they should focus on by “signposting” — using a verbal clue that they should be paying close attention, such as:
        • “If you remember one thing from today, it’s this….”
        • “We’re out here today for one key reason….”
    5. If a reporter tries to lead you down a path that gets away from your main message, use a “bridge message” to get back to where you want to be.
          • “We think the issue is really this….”
          • “Let’s look at the facts….”
          • “The key to solving this problem is….”
    6. Consider what your opponents might say, and include words or phrases that might preempt their criticism or objections. 
            • Consider words like “fair,” “just,” “thorough,” “accurate,” “inclusive”
            • Know which opposition messages to address, and which to avoid.

Media Best Practices

What to Expect

Sample Interviews

In addition to practicing the talking points, we recommend watching these sample interviews with Jesse Hagopian and Kimberlé Crenshaw. They were produced by AAPF, drawing from the format of a Zinn Education Project media workshop held in June. The interviews were conducted by Janine Jackson, FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) program director.

Op-Eds 

In addition to getting the media to cover your event, you and colleagues can submit an op-ed to your local papers. We recommend paying close attention to the guidelines from the Op Ed Project and reading the samples listed below. Our team is happy to provide feedback on your draft.  

(1) Read this detailed guide, Op-ed Writing: Tips and Tricks, from the Op Ed Project

(2) Check out these samples op-eds by teachers related to the anti-history education bills:

(3) We recommend sending the draft to the Zinn Education Project for feedback (Julia Salcedo jsalcedo@zinnedproject.org). We have worked with a number of teachers whose pieces were selected for publication.

 

Outreach

Use the sample copy and resources below to promote your action and share why you’re doing it! Use images from this folder.

Social Media

Use the hashtag #TeachTruth 

Before your action

  • As an educator, it is my job to #TeachTruth. On (insert date of your event), we are raising awareness of the dangers of lying to students about the existence and persistence of structural and systemic racism, and all forms of oppression. Will you join me at (insert location or site)? 
  • Not acknowledging our country’s history, including racism and other oppression, is deception, not education. That’s why I’m joining the Pledge to #TeachTruth on (INSERT DATE)! We’ll be meeting at (insert location or site) at (insert time).  
  • Educators pledging to “Teach Truth” know the power of knowledge to create a more just society. I’m joining the national movement to Pledge to #TeachTruth on (INSERT DATE. Join me! (Include event details…) 
  • Post personal testimony. Some examples are:
    • I wish I had learned about.. . .  
    • I won’t be able to teach  . . . 
    • It was important when I learned…
    • I became a teacher to. . . 
    • A democracy depends on students learning . . . 

Day of your action

  • When we know the truth of our past, we understand our present, and see opportunities to build a different future. Today, we stand to say #WeWontLie. We Pledge to #TeachTruth! 
  • Show solidarity with educators. Join all of us who are pledging to #TeachTruth today at [Include event details…] #WeWontLie
  • Lawmakers in at least 42 states are working to prevent teachers from teaching truth in our classrooms. Not acknowledging the history of systemic racism and other oppression is deception, not education. Stand with me today as I pledge to #TeachTruth.
  • Sample message and graphic for social media

After your action

  • On (INSERT DATE), we stood together and proclaimed, #WeWontLie. We pledge to #TeachTruth. Our work is not over. Tell your legislators: we will not accept bills that censor or force educators to lie! 
  • Thank you for standing with educators who are pledging to #TeachTruth. You can continue to show your solidarity with us by telling your legislators: we will not accept bills that censor or force educators to lie to students. 

Social Media Challenge

We invite you to use the power of your social media platform to protect teachers and ensure that our children learn the truth about history so that they can shape a more just future.

In the wake of the rebellion last summer, an increasing number of teachers committed to teach the history of racism and resistance. The right is trying to suppress that initiative and legislate a return to a white supremacist curriculum. This is related to the increased voter suppression legislation and how election officials are being bullied and terrorized for simply doing their job. Now, they are coming for teachers.

The right wing is filling the airwaves with “anti-CRT” messages and teachers are being harassed and their jobs threatened.

Your statements (written and creative)  in support of teachers and about why teaching the truth matters can provide critically needed moral support to teachers and students in this time — and let legislators know that this well-funded rightwing movement is outnumbered by the people in support of truthtelling. Join us for a #TeachTruth social media challenge on the Days of Action. 

Additional details can be found here

Sample Social Graphics

Use social graphics with the post content above. Find those here

 

You’ll see folders with graphics sized for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram ready for use.  In each folder, you will find PowerPoint slides. Use the slides to create your own, customized graphic!

  • Download and open the slides.
  • Consider adding a quote from an educator, community leader, or yourself!
  • Consider adding a line of text to send a powerful message, for example, “Teach Truth to Change the Future”.
    • Select the slide you want to save as an image, then go to File > Save As (PC) or File > Export (Mac). Choose a location and file name, then select Save As Type and choose an image format (JPEG, JPG, or PNG). 
  • Now the slide is ready for your post!

You’ll see a folder called “Local Event – Customizable Graphic” that contains files you can add your local event time, date, and location to and promote! 

You’ll also find a folder called profile-pic, for use creating a social media profile picture to show solidarity with the June 11-12 Days of Action. 

  • Download and open the slides.
  • To add your own picture, right click the image, select “change picture” or “replace image” and choose a file from your computer.
    • Select the slide you want to save as an image, then go to File > Save As (PC) or File > Export (Mac). Choose a location and file name, then select Save As Type and choose an image format (JPEG, JPG, or PNG). 
  • Upload to your social platforms.

And finally, you’ll find a folder of graphics that can be printed on 8 ½ x 11 or legal sized paper and used as signs on the day of or as PDFs for outreach emails.

Ideas for signs

Sample Email Copy

Use the messaging before depending on which stage of the action you are organizing

For use before your action

Hi [NAME], 

I’m writing to ask you to join me in my Pledge to Teach Truth. On (INSERT DATE), we are joining a national movement of educators who are coming together at historic locations around the country to speak up against legislative efforts to ban or prevent teachers from teaching the truth about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout U.S. history. 

When we know the truth of our past, we understand our present, and see opportunities to build a different future. This unites us. 

Not acknowledging the country’s actual history, including racism and other oppression, is deception, not education. 

On (INSERT DATE), we will meet at: 

Location

Time

Address

Please be prepared to bring (ex. water, snack, etc). And don’t forget to also wear a mask, so we can protect the health and well-being of all people in attendance. 

If you can’t join, you can still show your support using your social media and let your friends and community know that you stand with educators who are Pledging to Teach Truth! 

You can learn more about this national call for action being led by the Zinn Education Project (coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change), Black Lives Matter at School and the African American Policy Forum

For use the day of your action

Hi [Insert Name], 

Today is the day! 

Join us as we Pledge to Teach Truth. We’ll be meeting: 

Location

Time

Address

Remember — if you cannot attend, you can still stand in solidarity with us by sharing our message on social media and showing that you stand with educators who teach the truth! 

Thank you for joining us! 

For use following your action

Thank you everyone who joined us, posted on social media, and cheered us on on (INSERT DATE)

It was inspiring to channel our outrage and energy into showing that we won’t lie about our history, and we pledge to teach TRUTH! Our message must persist. 

You can continue to share and support our message by telling lawmakers: we will not accept bills that would censor and force educators to lie

Thank you for helping us amplify our message! 

Sample Website Copy

Create space on your website to tell people what you’re doing to Pledge to Teach Truth, and why. Use the sample copy below as a starting point!

We are joining the national movement to Pledge to Teach Truth on (INSERT DATE). Join us! The details are below:

Date

Location

Time

Address

Please be prepared to bring (insert water, snacks, etc). And don’t forget to also wear a mask, so we can protect the health and well-being of all people in attendance. 

If you can’t join, you can still show your support using your social media and letting your friends and community know that you stand with educators who are Pledging to Teach Truth! 

You can learn more about this national call for action being led by the Zinn Education Project (coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change), Black Lives Matter at School, and the African American Policy Forum

 

 

Media Outreach

The media can help extend the reach of our message, our action, and our commitment. We had a lot of success getting local and national media coverage for the sites in June.

We can’t emphasize enough what a difference these instructions and resources make. Just about every group that followed the four key steps and used the templates below had print and/or audiovisual media coverage as a result. Your media advisory should be sent two days before the action and your media release on the day of the action.

Four Key Steps

ONE: Identify local media to reach out to. 

TWO: Adapt the “Media Advisory Template” below and send it to the contacts identified in step one. Send it to both specific reporters if you have their emails as well as the general news tips address.

    • Make sure the advisory includes up-to-date information on your event: when it’s happening, location, who will be participating, and why. 
    • Include a contact name, email address, and cell phone number for someone who can be reached the day of the event with information.
    • Paste the text you’ve created directly into the text of the email. Newsrooms always prefer to have all the info right there within the email; attachments often get sent to junk mail.
    • Keep the subject line of the email concise, but intriguing enough to get reporters to open it. We recommend the following example: “Local educators rally Saturday against teaching bans.” 

THREE: Call your local outlets early in the morning of the event to let them know TODAY IS THE DAY, and encourage them to attend and cover it.

    • For TV and radio, simply call the station and ask for the newsroom. When you reach someone, have a brief pitch ready that includes what’s happening; when and where; why it’s important, and offer to resend the advisory you sent earlier.
    • For newspapers, call the outlet, and ask for the reporter you sent the advisory to, or for the newsroom, and repeat the steps above. 

FOUR: Send all of your contacts above a media release on the morning of the event. Adapt the ‘Media Release Template” below. 

    • Make sure the template includes up-to-date information on your event: when it’s happening, location, who will be participating, and why. 
    • Include a quote from someone organizing or participating in the event.
    • This makes it easy for reporters to include a voice, even if they can’t do an interview.
      • Make the quote conversational. The more it sounds like something someone would actually say — rather than a prepared statement — the more likely it will be picked up. 
      • Include a contact name, email address, and cell phone number for someone who can be reached the day of the event with information.
    • As noted in step two, paste the text you’ve created directly into the text of the email. Newsrooms always prefer to have all the info right there within the email; attachments often get sent to junk mail.
    • Keep the subject line of the email concise, but intriguing enough to get reporters to open it. We recommend the following: “TODAY: Local educators rally against teaching bans.”

Media Advisory Template

For Immediate Release—(Insert date)

MEDIA ADVISORY

SATURDAY: Local educators hold rally to “Teach Truth” about U.S. history

WHAT:

    • Educators are rallying to say they will not be bullied against teaching the truth about U.S. history.
    • The event comes as lawmakers in at least 42 states attempt to ban lessons about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism and other oppression.
    • IF THERE IS A BILL IN YOUR STATE, NOTE IT HERE.
    • Educators pledge to continue teaching students critical thinking skills that develop problem-solving and collective solutions. 

WHO:

    • If you are having speakers, LIST KEY SPEAKERS HERE, BY NAME AND AFFILIATION.
    • IF YOU KNOW THE # TEACHERS FROM # SCHOOLS ARE PLANNING TO PARTICIPATE, NOTE THAT HERE.

WHEN:

    • (ANY DATE BETWEEN JUNE 11-12)
    • LIST START TIME HERE and time zone.

WHERE:

    • LIST ADDRESS FOR RALLY HERE.
      • Note why the site was selected — historic significance
    • IF IT IS NOT A WELL-KNOWN PLACE, OFFER DIRECTIONS HERE

BACKGROUND

    • Lawmakers in at least 42 states are attempting to pass legislation that would require teachers to lie to their students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression in U.S. history. 
    • IF THERE IS A BILL IN YOUR STATE, NOTE IT HERE.
    • Proposed legislation in Missouri is typical of many of these bills, failing to name inaccuracies or misleading information in banned curricula.
    • Not acknowledging the country’s actual history, including racism and other oppression, is deception, not education.
    • Educators pledging to “Teach Truth” know the power of knowledge to create a more just society.

# # # 

Contact: 

NAME

EMAIL

CELL PHONE 

[THIS SHOULD BE SOMEONE WHO WILL BE AVAILABLE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE EVENT.]

Media Release Template

For Immediate Release—June (insert date), 2022

Educators rally at LOCATION with pledge to ‘Teach Truth’

CITY OR TOWN NAME—Educators [FROM # SCHOOLS OR DISTRICTS IF KNOWN] will rally today at LOCATION pledging to “teach truth” about United States history. 

The action comes as state lawmakers across the country are introducing bills to ban school curricula that include information about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other oppression in U.S. history.

“QUOTE,” said NAME, a ROLE at SCHOOL OR DISTRICT. “CONTINUE QUOTE.” [REMEMBER TO MAKE QUOTES CONVERSATIONAL. USE THE KEY MESSAGES FROM THE TOOLKIT. TIE THEM TO WHAT IS HAPPENING LOCALLY IF POSSIBLE.]

The rally will take place at LOCATION and TIME.

SENTENCE HERE WITH BACKGROUND ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YOUR STATE IF A BILL HAS BEEN INTRODUCED OR DISCUSSED.

Similar measures have been introduced in Missouri, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina, and more states. [REMOVE YOUR STATE FROM THIS LIST]. Many have targeted such curricula offered by the New York Times 1619 Project, Southern Poverty Law Center, Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project

Educators in YOUR TOWN OR COUNTY OR STATE are asking how they can teach their students honestly without looking at the historic roots of today’s inequality. 

“CLOSING QUOTE,” said NAME [AND IF DIFFERENT FROM THE QUOTED PERSON ABOVE, INCLUDE ROLE AND SCHOOL OR DISTRICT].

# # # 

NAME

EMAIL

CELL PHONE 

[THIS SHOULD BE SOMEONE WHO WILL BE AVAILABLE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE EVENT.]

 

Additional Resources

Understanding the Attacks on Teaching: A Background Brief for Educators and Leaders: A detailed, clearly written brief prepared by Kevin Kumashiro and signed by dozens of organizations.

Right-Wing Campaign to Block Teaching for Social Justice: A collection of key articles on the anti-history education laws.

Making History Matter: From Abstract Truth to Critical Engagement: A communications toolkit from the American Association for State and Local History to facilitate more effective communication with the public about history: why it matters, how it can be interpreted, and why it is important to incorporate critical thinking and a multitude of diverse perspectives in the ways we understand it.

Don’t forget to check out the graphics folders!

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