Education and the rights of students are under assault across America by ultra-conservative anti-equality forces, but thankfully a new coalition is doing something to fight back—this week.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization representing more than 3 million elementary & secondary school teachers & faculty, and the “Greater than Hate” coalition of advocacy groups that share a common goal to oppose hate in all its forms, are joining forces to launch a “Parents Week of Action” from September 23 – September 30th, 2023 to show up & show out for LGBTQ+ youth as students get back in the swing of the school year.
Schools should be places where all of our children are free to be who they are and where the foundation is laid for who they will become. Every student should be free to go to school without fear of discrimination or violence. But this back-to-school season, thanks to the actions of extremist politicians and hate groups, students are being forced into increasingly hostile and dangerous environments. Anti-equality forces have banned our children from seeing themselves in their curriculum, erasing critical lessons that impact their health, safety, and future successes. These forces have prioritized protecting assault weapons over protecting every child’s freedom to learn—all under the guise of “parental rights.”
During this week of action, parents and organizations across the country will hold a variety of events to uplift LGBTQ+ students, equip parents and guardians to stand up for their rights and those of their youth, and raise awareness about the rising tide of book bans, anti-trans legislation, and curriculum censorship that seeks to deprive children of a full and complete education.
“It’s time for us to fight back against these attacks on our kids,” said Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Every parent and every family member of a young person should be able to count on our schools to respect and affirm our children. Every student should be able to see themselves and their families reflected in their school and in their school’s curriculum as part of the critical path to achieving health and success. Parents have the right to protect their kids. Side-by-side, we’re telling the fear-mongers that enough is enough.”
“Schools should be places where all of our students, no matter their ZIP code, gender, or background, are free to be who they are and where we lay a foundation to help them reach their full, brilliant potential,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “But this school year, some extreme politicians continue to politicize public education and create increasingly hostile and dangerous environments. This month, we are collaborating with the Greater Than Hate Coalition on Parents Week of Action to stop the full-court attacks on our freedoms. We are coming together–parents, educators, and students–to say enough is enough. Stop the attacks on our LGBTQ+ community. Stop denying students the right to a truthful and honest education. Stop banning books. By joining together and speaking up at school board meetings, contacting our elected leaders, and voting to fully fund our public schools, we can make this a country where all students have the freedom to learn, grow, and thrive.”
Current “Parents Week of Action” events and activations include include:
- AZ LGBTQ+ Resilience Network Kickoff, September 23rd, 2023, in partnership with ACLU Arizona, SOS Arizona, Arizona Trans Youth & Parent Organization, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, One N Ten, and Moms Demand Action.
- Banned Book Bingo, September 28th, 2023, in partnership with Free Mom Hugs and the LGBTQ Equality Alliance of Chester County.
- Mama Bears Screening, September 28th, 2023, in partnership with Free Mom Hugs and the Mama Bears.
- Austin Banned Book Trivia, September 27th, 2023, in partnership with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas.
- Houston Banned Book Bingo, September 26th, 2023, in partnership with Rice Pride.
- Permian Basin Banned Book Bingo, September 29th, 2023, in partnership with Pride Center West Texas, PFLAG, and Out In West Texas.
- Greater than Hate Parents’ Pledge, September 23-30, 2023.
- Texas Rainbow Homecoming Dance, September 30th, 2023.
- The Wisconsin Parents Week of Action Toolkit, September 25th-30th, 2023, in partnership with A Better Wisconsin Together, Black Leaders Organizing Communities, Blue Sky Waukesha, Fair Wisconsin, GSAFE, LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin, National Association of Social Workers (NASW), PFLAG Wisconsin Chapter, Project North, and Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
- Parents Week of Action Pledge, September 23-30, 2023
As part of the week of action, the coalition launched a website where parents can register their own Week of Action events, browse other efforts happening in their cities and states, and connect with others in the fight against extremism in schools.
- Source: HRC