Students Have a Right to Learn about Our Past Says The Leadership Conference


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Release Date

Thursday, July 8, 2021


WASHINGTON – In light of the ongoing attempts to whitewash and erase the history of the United States, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with 79 civil rights and education organizations, today released a response condemning the attacks on critical race theory, culturally responsive curricula, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The full response is below and available here.

“All students deserve access to an education that prepares them to succeed in college, career, and life and to fully exercise their social, political, and economic rights. Attempting to gag educators and whitewash the aspects of U.S. history that rightfully make people uncomfortable undermines that basic principle. For too long, we have denied Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native students, LGBTQ students, women and girls, students with disabilities, religious minorities, and other marginalized people the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the story of our nation — both as builders and as those who were shut out. At the same time, we have too often denied White students the opportunity to learn about and grapple with the difficult reality that the work of building a United States that is as good as its ideals is unfinished.

“Proponents of discrimination and exclusion — who seek to deny access to voting, housing, employment, and health care — have once again set their sights on education. Policymakers are attacking critical race theory, culturally responsive curricula, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. These attacks build on a history of criminalizing literacy for Black people, knowing the liberation that an education provides; practicing cultural genocide on Native communities by removing children from their homes; and punishing immigrants for speaking more than one language. The vocabulary has changed, but the agenda has not.

“Because we have the advantage of knowing our history, we know that no lie can live forever; that right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant; and that you cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. The determination to legislate ignorance, to prevent critical thinking, and to erase the complicated and difficult history of our nation will fail once again.”

Note: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit

Latest Stories