On Thursday, July 22, teachers, parents, and community members gathered at about two dozen historic sites throughout Westchester County, New York to pledge to #TeachTruth. The countywide event was organized in response to the growing number of bills that ban teaching honestly about U.S. history. They pledged:
We, in Westchester County, Pledge to Teach the Truth and to support the schools and teachers that teach truth. We believe that by teaching a diverse and culturally relevant history to our youth, we are empowering them to create a more just and inclusive future.
People gathered at the Tarrytown Music Hall, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Columbus Park, Westchester Reform Temple, All Saints Episcopal Church, Harbor Island, Village of Pelham Manor, the African American Cemetery in Rye, County Center, Walters Hot Dog Stand, Mt. Pleasant Public Library, Ossining Village Washington School, Wickers Creek, Bush Lyon Homestead, Saint John’s Episcopal Church, and the locations featured in selected videos and photos below.
1816 Schoolhouse in Mamaroneck
Port Chester Historical Society
John Jay Estate, Rye
We share here how high school teacher Vanessa Spiegel organized the action as an example to consider in other cities and counties. To encourage people to participate, she:
- circulated a call for people to select a location and then to sign up on many local progressive Facebook pages
- spoke at the SURJ Westchester meeting and the Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory Committee meeting
- emailed or posted on Facebook pages of local organizations that she thought would be in support, such as CURE
- sent invitations to local superintendents and unions, thanks to help from a colleague, Robert Wingate
In summary, her preparation involved a LOT of outreach and the strong participation made it all worthwhile. Consider planning an action for the end of August. Read how and sign up.