Education

Teach the Truth rally in North Kingstown

“This is really connected to electoral politics. There’s this massive wave of voter suppression, and an educated electorate is an equipped electorate. And you can’t create an educated electorate if you’re barred from talking about the truths of history.”
Photo for Teach the Truth rally in North Kingstown

Published on August 30, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

“We are here today to Teach the Truth and fight for truth in our schools, and beyond,” said Lindsay, a member of the Providence Teacher’s Coalition, the Teach Truth Coalition and Showing Up for Racial Justice Rhode Island (SURJ RI).

The event is part of a national week of action, a response to attacks against so-called “Critical Race Theory” in public schools that have resulted in legislation against factually accurate history being taught to children. In Rhode Island, Representative Patricia Morgan (Republican, District 26, West Warwick) introduced H6070, which prohibits the teaching of “divisive” concepts in class. That bill did not get out of committee. UpriseRI previewed the event here.

“Lawmakers in 28 states, including Rhode Island, are attempting to pass legislation that would require teachers to lie to students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism and oppression in United States history and contemporary politics,” said Lindsay. “We also want to show local community members from North Kingstown, who have been standing up and pushing back, and who have been targeted and harassed for their anti-racist practices, that we stand with them.”

Jennifer Lima is the founder and a member of Towards an Anti-Racist North Kingstown and a recently elected member of the North Kingstown School Committee. Lima also co-chairs the School Committee’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity sub committee.

“By the time we held our third [DEI subcommittee] meeting, it was already under fire,” said Lima, the mother of four children, three who are biracial.

Townspeople opposed to discussing racism said the subcommittee was “a solution in search of a problem and that racism does not exist in North Kingstown,” reported Lima.

“That same group is currently working to have me removed from my school committee seat,” said Lima. “This attempt fits into the broader strategy we see playing out across our country to overturn election results and try to replace school board members who support antiracism education.”

Ben Cooley Hall, spokesperson for the event, said that the timing of these attacks against history eduction is not coincidental.

These attacks are “kind of a backlash against” the Black lives Matter rallies over the past year which were responding to racist policing, and also the electoral victories. “This is really connected to electoral politics. There’s this massive wave of voter suppression, and an educated electorate is an equipped electorate. And you can’t create an educated electorate if you’re barred from talking about the truths of history.”

These efforts to gag teachers are linked to voter suppression around the country, said Cooley Hall.

Other speakers included:

Izzy, a rising Senior at North Kingstown High School

Michelle, school teacher:

Chloe, a tenth grade student at North Kingstown High School:

Asa, a 4th grade student:

endawnis, speaking from her perspective as a Native American:

Paul, math teacher:

Gabrielle, rising junior at Blackstone Academy and ARISE:

Angela, a teacher:

Catherine, a mother of biracial children:

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