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Civil Rights Leaders Declare The Freedom To Learn at Rally in Washington D.C.

Organizers with the Freedom to Learn (F2L) network and the Right to Learn (R2L) coalition are planning a rally May 3 in Washington, D.C. The annual Freedom to Learn DC Rally convenes at the Library of Congress, and participants will march to the U. S. Supreme Court to hear from a slate of speakers — students, educators, parents, artists, and leaders civil and human rights organizations like National Urban League President Marc Morial and Kimberlé Crenshaw, cofounder and executive director of African American Policy Forum and a law professor at UCLA and Columbia University. 

Leaders will speak on the connection between book bans, anti-CRT or “anti-woke” laws, and the suppression of other civil liberties and social justice values as part of a coordinated far-right effort to extinguish civil rights at all levels of federal government.

Kimberlé CrenshawKimberlé Crenshaw“We’re hoping this summer is where we draw the line in the sand, where we push back,” said Crenshaw, during a panel discussion at the recent National Action Network Convention moderated by Dr. Jamal Watson of Diverse. “We save this democracy, but after that, we want something more. We want a real democracy where our votes really count. We cannot save our democracy and leave anti-racism on the side of the road. The two have to come together.”

May 3 is the Second Annual National Day of Action, part of the Freedom to Learn coalition’s launchpad for Freedom Summer 2024, which marks 60 years since Freedom Summer 1964. Then, organizers risked their lives in opposition to Jim Crow and segregation.

This year also commemorates 70 years since Brown v. Board of Education, when the Supreme Court recognized that there could not be a functioning democracy where there existed a segregated and inequitable education system.

The Freedom to Learn National Day of Action unites around principles believed to be vital to a healthy democracy and not limited to the following:

· Public educators across the U.S. should be empowered to teach curricula that reflect true history and inclusive, anti-racist and intersectional ideas without fear of retribution from federal, state, or local government or officials;

· Private third-party educational institutions with power to shape curricula — such as the College Board — should refrain from caving to political pressure from government officials who are attempting to manipulate public education as a cornerstone of their efforts to erode an inclusive and rights-respecting U.S. democracy; and

· All stakeholders who care about an inclusive and rights-respecting US democracy should unite in protest of legislation at the local, state and federal level to ban books and to ban anti-racist teachings like Black feminism, CRT, Black Queer Studies and Intersectionality.

Organizers expect the Freedom to Learn DC Rally will highlight the continued need to work 70 years thence, in the face of increased assaults on education and on efforts to improve racial equity that threaten to foreclose the possibility of a multiracial democracy. Participants will include Melanie Campbell, President/CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Svante Myrick, President, People For the American Way and Ebonie Riley, Senior Vice President, National Action Network (NAN) among others.

“Today, as leaders of the nation’s legacy civil rights organizations unite to endorse the Freedom to Learn campaign alongside Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, it's evident that our society faces critical challenges," said Riley of NAN. "Rejecting attempts to suppress Black history and roll back civil rights victories, we must reaffirm our dedication to fostering an inclusive democracy for all. Let us stand together against these regressive forces and uphold the fundamental right to truthful education.” 

Participants will meet at 10:15 a.m. ET and march from the Library of Congress, 68 First St. SE, Washington, DC 20004, to rally at the Supreme Court, 1 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20543. To learn more about the May 3 rally, and the May 2 virtual rally, visit

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