NewsNAACP Joins Lawsuit Against Arkansas's Anti-DEI Legislation

NAACP Joins Lawsuit Against Arkansas’s Anti-DEI Legislation

The fighting never stops!

The NAACP has joined a growing lawsuit against the state of Arkansas over the legislation that intentionally blocks public schools from teaching diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory. 

In collaboration with the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, the Arkansas chapter of the civil rights organization is pressing a federal court to implement an injunction in hopes that the LEARNS Act — standing for Literacy, Empowerment, Accountability, Readiness, Networking and School Safety Act — will be stopped while the suit goes through litigation. 

This is an added measure to the organization’s fight against what President Derrick Johnson describes as a wave of anti-DEI legislation in the United States. “From Arkansas to Alabama, the desecration of diversity, equity and inclusion poses an imminent threat to the future of our nation,” Johnson said. 

“We refuse to go back. The NAACP will continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that our constitutional rights are protected and our culture respected. This is what standing for community looks like.” 

Plaintiffs, including two high school teachers and two students from Little Rock Central High School — the same school attended by the Little Rock Nine following the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling ending public school segregation — argue the legislation caused a large amount of “anxiety, stress, and consternation for teachers, parents, and students alike across Arkansas.” 

This ultimately resulted in the courses being eliminated from the state catalog. Barry Johnson, president of the NAACP Arkansas State Conference, said the move makes it clear that people have forgotten about the Black history created in the state, also known as “The Land of Opportunity.” “The Black community in Arkansas has a decades-long history of fighting for equitable education,” he said. 

“Let’s not forget — it was Arkansas children who shouldered the responsibility of integrating our nation’s schools. Nearly seven decades later, we carry the torch by fighting for the right for that history to be taught.”

However, opposers like Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Director of the Educational Opportunities Project, David Hinojosa, thinks the act gives students only part of the nation’s story, forcing teachers to give a “whitewashed” version of American history. “Frankly, it’s downright offensive and unjust for Arkansas to be forcing educators to censor their discussion on racism and stripping the AP African American Studies course of all its benefits, including extra weight for their GPAs and potentially earning college credit,” he said, according to The Hill. 

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Source: Black Enterprise


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