Join the UU Congregation of Fairfax and their panel of speakers to learn about Critical Race Theory (CRT), the politics around the topic in Northern VA and across the nation, and reinforce the understanding of why learning accurate, inclusive history is good for students and our communities.
Find out more and register: https://uucf.org/events/teaching-truth. See below for description and panelists!
For more information, please contact Mary Lareau (firstname.lastname@example.org; 703-346-3027).
A January 15th Martin Luther King Weekend Event
Teaching Truth: Putting Students FirstCountering the baseless claims of anti-CRT politics
To counter the baseless claims of anti-critical race theory (CRT) politics and reinforce the importance of teaching inclusive history, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (UUCF) will sponsor a virtual teach-in on Sat., Jan. 15, 2-4pm (Eastern). Organized by UUCF’s Racial Justice Steering Committee and groups and individuals committed to truth, equity and justice, the teach-in commemorates Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. It also coincides with Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s first day in office, a date he has vowed to “ban CRT” in the Commonwealth. Since CRT is not taught in Virginia schools, the event organizers aim to counter disinformation about CRT and lift up how quality education needs to include “teaching truth.”
“In today’s environment of rampant, fear-based disinformation coming from political actors, educators are pressured to avoid discussing the nation’s and Virginia’s true history, including the wrongs of racism,” says UUCF Rev. David A. Miller. “Students need access to accurate history to understand the complications of our national journey and to grow into adults who strive to make the world more loving, compassionate and equitable – hallmarks of the beloved community envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “
The faith-driven event aims to support the best interests of children and the parents and teachers who understand the moral call to teach our children the full, true history of our nation. One of the action-based goals of this newly forming coalition is the pledge to provide a free, inclusive-history curriculum, already in development by UUCF’s Religious Education Program, for faith communities and other non-governmental organizations not constrained by political whims.
The teach-in will feature a panel of truth tellers who will discuss how the lie that CRT is being taught in Virginia schools has been used as a reactionary dog whistle. Panelists will discuss the challenges facing educators today and how we can support accurate fact-based schooling.
- Moderator, Tanishia Williams – Critical Race Theory Research Associate at the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), a think tank started by Kimberlé Crenshaw. Ms. Williams has been a teacher, principal, executive director, instructional superintendent and scholar with significant experience in Virginia schools. She is currently researching how the opposition to CRT has harmed educators and students.
- Penny Edwards Blue – author of the book “A Time to Protest: Leadership Lessons From My Father.” Ms. Blue is a speaker, coach and CEO of Penny Wise Gateway, LLC. She has served 8 years on the Franklin County School Board in Southwest Virginia as one of the only African American board members and has first-hand experience with the pressures targeting school boards over the last year.
- Neonu Jewell – the founder and spiritual director of Niyah Center, an online interfaith, empowerment and social justice community. Ms. Jewell, who has over 20 years of legal, corporate, academic, and diversity and inclusion experience, is a Critical Race Theory Fellow at the AAPF.
- Dr. Andrea Kane – former superintendent for Queen Anne’s County Public Schools (MD), where she led initiatives to address systemic and overt racism. She lost that position in 2020 when a controversy erupted over an email she sent to parents after the murder of George Floyd. Dr. Kane was recently associate superintendent for Richmond (VA) Public Schools and is now Professor of Practice, Education Leadership at Penn Graduate School of Education.
- Rev. Dr. William G. (Bill) Sinkford – president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) from 2001-2009 and currently senior minister at First Unitarian Portland. Rev. Sinkford’s tenure at the UUA was marked by strong public witness for social justice and support for marginalized communities, commitments he continues in Portland. Rev. Sinkford also had a successful career in the corporate world and ran his own business in the housing field.
- Dr. James Whitfield – the first Black administrator at four different schools in Texas. Most recently Dr. Whitfield served as the much-loved principal at Colleyville Heritage High School, in Colleyville, TX, where he was forced to resign for “teaching CRT” after writing an email that named systemic racism following George Floyd’s murder. Since then, he has spoken publicly and to the media about his experience and the challenges facing educators.
Co-sponsors: UUCF, Emmaus United Church of Christ, and SURJ NoVA (Showing Up for Racial Justice Northern Virginia).