DeSantis Calls for Book Banning, Whitewashing History, and Teacher Intimidation
Black History is American History.
Right now — as the nation celebrates Black History Month, honors the contributions of the Black community, and reflects on past and current injustices — GOP leaders in the Florida Legislature are fast-tracking a bill that would censor honest conversations about racism, discrimination, and injustice in our schools and workplace.
This is a dangerous assault on American history and our first amendment rights to free speech — it’s a precedent we can’t allow to pass. It’s literally un-American, anti-freedom, and blatantly racist.
The so-called “Stop WOKE Act” is part of Governor Ron DeSantis’ censorship and surveillance agenda. He’s even called for putting cameras and microphones into classrooms to monitor teachers. DeSantis wants more surveillance in every part of our lives — empowering legislators to police classrooms, doctor’s offices, and the workplace.
This bill is dangerously close to a full vote in the Florida House and Senate.
Here’s the deal: This bill will have a chilling effect in schools and workplaces, where honest dialogue about our country’s history will be shut down to avoid legal liability. It will also censor the truth about the origins of anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence in an effort to protect those learning from the discomfort of that truth. We can’t end discrimination by ignoring its roots.
“Ignoring the reality of racism and sexism perpetuates and further empowers the racist...The only way to not repeat the past is to educate ourselves and learn the lessons we need to learn to fix the systems and practices that perpetuate racially unjust results. Racism exists... This bill is anti-freedom. This bill is white privilege personified and white fragility in legislative form.”
-Florida State Representative Dotie Joseph
Our elected officials in Tallahassee should be focused on addressing the real issues facing everyday Floridians, not stifling free speech as a way to pander to right-wing extremists.
The truth is: Governor DeSantis and his legislative allies are trying desperately to push themselves to the far right of Donald Trump as they set DeSantis up for a presidential run in 2024. To them, these bills are just political games — but this legislation is no game at all, and the blatant racism on display is a danger to us all — and an assault on all of our rights.
Together, we will continue to speak out against bills that seek to silence the truth, prevent justice, and end the American way. Because no one is free until we are all free.
The "Stop WOKE Act" is up for a vote in the House Education Committee on Tuesday, February 8 at 3:30 p.m. — its final House committee. The bill's next stop in the other chamber is the Senate Rules Committee, which is its final stop on that side.