Founded in 1996 by Professors Kimberlé Crenshaw and Luke Charles Harris, The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) is an innovative think
tank that connects academics, activists and policy-makers to promote efforts to dismantle
structural inequality. We utilize new ideas and innovative perspectives to transform public discourse and policy. We promote frameworks and strategies that address a vision of racial justice that embraces the intersections of race, gender, class, and the array of barriers that disempower those who are marginalized in society. AAPF is dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, both in the U.S. and internationally.
This dynamic toolkit provides some resources on how to learn about and act on the “divisive concepts” and “anti-CRT” bills that are sweeping through state legislatures across the county. It is by no means complete and will be updated regularly with additional resources and information. If you want to know the status of the bills in various states, including yours, you can use AAPF’s interactive legislation tracker. Click here, then scroll to the map at the bottom of the page to access the tracker.
WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY? Critical Race Theory is a framework that helps us understand how race and racism shape some of our laws, policies, and structures despite civil rights reforms.
CRT TALKING POINTS History is the greatest educator for teaching us why we are where we are. Yet our shared American history is being banned from classrooms, libraries, and textbooks. They are preventing schools from teaching about slavery, the Holocaust, and Jim Crow. This is about our children and our future.
WE SHOULD ALL SEEK TO FOSTER HONEST CLASSROOM CONVERSAT IONS AND PRODUCT IVE DEBATE ABOUT STRUCTURAL INEQUAL I T I ES .
WE WE MUST SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS ’ FREEDOM TO LEARN ACCURATE U . S . HI STORY AND C IVI CS TO ENSURE THEY HAVE THE TOOLS TO SUCCEED AND BUI LD A MORE INCLUS IVE AND EQUI TABLE FUTURE .
THE CURRENT STATE-BY- STATE STRATEGI ES TO SUPPRESS VOT ING RIGHTS , PROTEST , AND IDEAS ARE INTERCONNECTED , AND TOGETHER THEY POSE AN URGENT THREAT TO THE CONT INUED FUNCT IONING OF AMERI CA ’ S DEMOCRACY .
ONE OF THE B IGGEST L I ES IN THI S COORDINATED DI S INFORMAT ION CAMPAIGN I S THAT CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY I S ABOUT LABEL ING INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE “RAC I ST . "
I T I S IMPORTANT THAT WE TEACH OUR CHI LDREN ALL OF OUR HI STORI ES AND HOW THE ONGOING LEGACY OF INEQUAL I TY AFFECTS THE COUNTRY TODAY .
TEACHING OUR CHI LDREN THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR PAST AND PRESENT FOSTERS UNDERSTANDING AND EMPATHY TO CREATE A BRIDGE TO UNI TE US .
READ THE OPEN LETTER
AN INVI TAT ION TO ENGAGE
AAPF’s “Open Letter and Call to Action to University and College Faculty” formalizes our commitment to academic freedom.
VI EW THE OPEN LETTER
SIGN THE OPEN LETTER
AN INVI TAT ION TO PART I C I PATE
Across the country, this panic over what and how we learn about history has led to the termination of educators and the cancelling of courses and programs. SIGN the AAPF’s “Open Letter and Call to Action to University and College Faculty” to express your commitment, as a college and/or university educator, to the rejection of “classroom censorship” bills in their various forms.
S IGN THE OPEN LETTER
“DEFENDING ACADEMI C FREEDOM TO TEACH ABOUT RACE AND GENDER JUST I CE AND CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY” RESOLUTION TEMPLATE
Faculty senates and/or councils are one of the most important mechanisms of shared governance and faculty empowerment -- and can be used to communicate to our administrations and governing boards what is most important to us. To that end, we’ve developed a resolution template entitled “Defending Academic Freedom to Teach About Race and Gender Justice and Critical Race Theory” -- which faculty members can introduce in their respective senates and councils for adoption and presentation to their administrations. The sample resolution can be adapted to what you think would be most effective at your individual institution. Find links to the resolution template itself, as well as sample resolutions that demonstrate how faculty at two campuses incorporated language from their governance documents and mission statements into their resolutions.
RESOLUT ION TEMPLATE
PORTLAND STATE UNIVERS I TY SAMPLE RESOLUT ION DEPAUL UNIVERS I TY SAMPLE RESOLUT ION
USE THESE RESOURCES TO ACT IVATE UNIVERS I TY FACULTY SENATES
Several higher education organizations have made official statements opposing the various “divisive concepts” and “anti-CRT” bills -- which can be really helpful in talking with others about why these bills threaten our ability to teach and our students’ ability to learn. STATEMENTS OF HIGHER ED ORGANI ZAT IONS
Joint Statement of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), PEN America, the American Historical Association (AHA), and the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) on Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism (June 16, 2021) AALS STATMENT Statement by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) on Efforts to Ban the Use or Teaching of Critical Race Theory (August 3, 2021)
DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENTS L INKED ABOVE TO GET MORE ENGAGED
FACULTY SENATE RESOLUTIONS Many institutions have adopted or are considering adopting the Faculty Senate Resolution in support of academic freedom, the teaching of Critical Race Theory, and race and gender education.
I. FACULTY SENATES
ALABAMA Un i ve r s i t y o f A l abama * ( * s i gn i f i cant l y mod i f i ed f r om , bu t i nsp i r ed by r eso l u t i on t emp l a t e )
MI CHIGAN Mi ch i gan S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y
MINNESOTA Un i ve r s i t y o f Mi nneso t a - Twi n C i t i es
CAL I FORNIA Un i ve r s i t y o f Ca l i f o r n i a - R i ve r s i de
MI SS I SS I PP I Jack son S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y Un i ve r s i t y o f Mi s s i s s i pp i
C OLORADO Un i ve r s i t y o f Co l o r ado
DELAWARE Un i ve r s i t y o f De l awa r e
NEW YORK Mo l l oy Co l l ege S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y o f New Yo r k Queensbo r ough Commun i t y Co l l ege
FLORIDA Sant a Fe Co l l ege
NORTH CAROL INA No r th Ca r o l i na A & T S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y
I LL INOI S DePau l Un i ve r s i t y
NORTH DAKOTA No r th Dako t a S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y No r th Dako t a Un i ve r s i t y Sy s t em
MARYLAND Wa sh i ng t on Co l l ege
MASSACHUSETTS Un i ve r s i t y o f Ma s s achuse t t s Lowe l l Un i ve r s i t y o f Ma s s achuse t t s Bos t on
OHIO Oh i o S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y
CL I CK ON EACH INST I TUT ION TO LEARN MORE .
OREGON Po r t l and S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y Un i ve r s i t y o f Or egon
PENNSYLVANIA Penns y l van i a S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y
RHODE I SLAND Un i ve r s i t y o f Rhode I s l and
SOUTH CAROL INA Un i ve r s i t y o f Sou th Ca r o l i na
TEXAS Un i ve r s i t y o f Texa s a t Aus t i n Pr a i r i e V i ew A & M Un i ve r s i t y Un i ve r s i t y o f Hous t on - V i c t o r i a
UTAH Un i ve r s i t y o f Ut ah * ( * pa s sed be f o r e the l aunch o f AAPF ' s sena t e r eso l u t i on campa i gn )
VIRGINIA V i r g i n i a Commonwea l th Un i ve r s i t y V i r g i n i a Tech * ( * pa s sed be f o r e the l aunch o f AAPF ' s sena t e r eso l u t i on campa i gn )
PENNSYLVANIA Penns y l van i a S t a t e Un i ve r s i t y
WI SCONS IN Un i ve r s i t y o f Wi s cons i n – Mad i son
I I . AAUP CHAPTERS OR FACULTY UNIONS DI RECTLY INFLUENCED BY THE AAPF TEMPLATE
Ba l l S t a t e AAUP AAUP - Pu rdue Bos t on Co l l ege AAUP Geo r ge Ma son Un i ve r s i t y
I I I . ASSOCIAT IONS Ame r i c a n S t ud i e s A s s o c i a t i o n C a l i f o r n i a F a c u l t y A s s o c i a t i o n
CL I CK ON EACH INST I TUT ION TO LEARN MORE .
ACADEMIC FREEDOM RESOURCES
1940 STATEMENT OF PRINC I PLES ON ACADEMI C FREEDOM AND TENURE , WI TH 1970 INTERPRET IVE COMMENTS The primary source on the concept of “ academic freedom ”. Just what is “academic freedom”? Surprisingly, many faculty don’t really know. But in times like these, we must get educated about “academic freedom” and how it protects faculty, from the granting of tenure and other measures to protections from inappropriate intrusions into our teaching and research.
REFERENCE THESE MATERIAS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ACADEMI C FREEDOM.
FAQS ABOUT ACADEMI C FREEDOM American Association for University Professors resource .
REPORT : FREEDOM IN THE CLASSROOM The report that follows , prepared by a subcommittee of the Association ’ s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure , was approved in June 2007 by the committee for publication .
SHARED GOVERNANCE RESOURCES
REFERENCE THESE MATERIALS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SHARED GOVERNANCE .
Academic freedom can’t flourish on any campus unless it is operationalized through shared governance. Increasingly, faculty are being squeezed out of our role in the “joint effort” (with governing boards and executive administrations) of governing the college or university -- which in turn requires faculty involvement to varying degrees in “personnel decisions, selection of administrators, preparation of the budget, and determination of educational policies.” That means that shared governance isn’t just about serving on promotion & tenure committees or various search committees -- it’s really about the roles we must play in ensuring that our institutions of higher education continue to produce and disseminate knowledge for the common good.
1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities-- the primary sources on the concept of “shared governance” Report: On the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom (June 1994) OTHER RESOURCES “What is shared governance, and why does it matter?” -- slides that can be used and/or adapted for presentations to faculty about shared governance
REVI EW AND SUBMI T TEST IMONY
Below are some samples, by state, of testimony submitted by faculty and/or faculty organizations in opposition to bills targeting Critical Race Theory and racial justice education. You can also view individual states’ bills themselves by clicking on the hyperlinked bill numbers.
OHIO - HOUSE B I LLS 322 , AND 327 (AS INTRODUCED AND SUBST I TUTE B I LL COMPARI SON)
Submitted to the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee
TEST IMONY OF THE OHIO FACULTY COUNC I L ( SEPTEMBER 202 1 ) TEST IMONY OF STEPHEN MOCKABEE ( SEPTEMBER 202 1 )
TEST IMONY OF EMI LY HOUH ( SEPTEMBER 202 1 )
Educators from across the country have worked diligently to provide culturally responsive curriculum to their students. Black Lives Matter at School has worked in collaboration with those educators to compile a repository of materials that educators and parents can access to decolonize the curriculum.
READ : NAT IONAL STATEMENT
USE : BLM AT SCHOOL CURRI CULUM GUIDE
REVI EW: #TEACHTRUTH SYLLABUS FROM THE Z INN EDUCAT ION PROJECT
S IGN : PLEDGE TO TEACH TRUTH
REVI EW: NAT IONAL EDUCAT ION ASSOC IAT ION RAC IAL JUST I CE RESOURCES
SUPPORT : GET YOUR BLM AT SCHOOLS GEAR !
CONDUCT A VIRTUAL F I ELD TRI P : NAT IONAL MUSEUM OF AFRI CAN AMERI CAN HI STORY AND CULTURE (NMAAHC) DIGI TAL ARCHIVE CONDUCT A VIRTUAL F I ELD TRI P : THE LEGACY MUSEUM & NAT IONAL MUSEUM FOR PEACE AND JUST I CE ( EQUAL JUST I CE INI T IAT IVE )
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
CL I CK ON EACH STATE TO LEARN MORE .
As of September 25th, 2021, there are ten states — Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, NewHampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah — that have passed restrictions on racial justice education in public K- 12 schools. To date, at least two dozen other states have introduced legislation that would require teachers to lie to students about structural racism and other forms of oppression.
BLOG POSTS & OP-EDS
REVI EW AND CREATE BLOG POSTS AND OP-EDS
Faculty from across the country have been doing some great writing in various higher ed spaces about the bills, the political work they do, and how they spread misinformation about CRT and similar fields of study.
ELLEN SCHRECKER , "YES , THESE B I LLS ARE THE NEW MCCARTHY I SM, " FROM THE ACADEME BLOG ( SEPTEMBER 202 1 )
PRANAV JANI , "DOWN WI TH THE THOUGHT POL I CE ! " , FROM THE ACADEME BLOG ( SEPTEMBER 202 1 )
TYLER PARRY , "CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY AND THE MI SAPPROPRIAT ING OF MART IN LUTHER KING , JR . , " FROM THE AAIHS BLACK PERSPECT IVES ( SEPTEMBER 202 1 )
ERI C SMAW, "THE BLACK SCARE , " FROM THE ACADEME BLOG , OCT . 3 , 202 1
MAINSTREAM MEDIA Maybe you’re an academic whose field of expertise is “unrelated” to CRT, but you want to be able to speak intelligently about what CRT is to those who might ask because you’re an academic. Below you’ll find accessible articles published in mainstream media that do a pretty good job of explaining what CRT is and its history, as well as the history of the attacks on CRT. These articles also contain links to several law review articles that helped establish the field of CRT if you are interested in exploring primary sources.
READ : KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW ON CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY
L I STEN : LUKE HARRI S ON CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY
READ : STEPHANI E SAUL , "ENERGI Z ING CONSERVAT IVE VOTERS , ONE SCHOOL BOARD ELECT ION AT A T IME" FROM THE NEW YORK T IMES , OCT , 2 1 , 202 1
READ : LAUREN MI CHELE JACKSON , "THE VOID THAT CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY WAS CREATED TO F I LL , " FROM THE NEW YORKER , JULY 27 , 202 1
READ : JELANI COBB , "THE MAN BEHIND CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY , " FROM THE NEW YORKER , SEPT . 1 3 , 202 1
READ : BENJAMIN WALLACE-WELLS , "HOW A CONSERVAT IVE ACT IVI ST INVENTED THE CONFL I CT OVER CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY , " FROM THE NEW YORKER , JUNE 18 , 202 1
READ : DAVID SMI TH , "HOW DID REPUBL I CANS TURN CRI T I CAL RACE THEORY INTO A WINNING ELECTORAL I SSUE? " FROM THE GUARDIAN , NOV , 3 , 202 1
READ : CHARLES BLOW, "WHI TE RAC IAL ANXI ETY STRIKES AGAIN , " FROM THE NEW YORK T IMES , NOV . 3 , 202 1
MEDIA TRAINING VIDEOS
featuring Janine Jackson, FAIR
ADDITIONAL MEDIA RESOURCES
#TRUTHBETOLD MESSAGING GUIDE
BACKGROUND BRI EF ON CRT ATTACKS
MEDIA TRAINING 101 : GENERAL T I PS AND PREPARAT ION
MEDIA TRAINING 201 : BEST PRACT I CES FOR INTERVI EWING
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WE INV I TE EDUCATORS UNDER THREAT TO CONTACT THE HOWARD UNI VERS I TY THURGOOD MARSHAL L C I V I L R I GHTS CL INI C FOR CONF IDENT I AL ASS I STANCE .
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