Black History Month has always had its detractors. Since its widespread emergence in America’s schools in the 1970s, there have been people scattered across the country who despise that children in their communities have a designated opportunity to learn about the resistance, resilience and remarkable talents of Black Americans. But it was never a nationwide movement — until now.

From parents citing Black History Month as “critical race theory” to school districts banning books about racism — including a book by Ruby Bridges, who at 6 years old became the first Black child to integrate an elementary school in the South — it is clear that there’s an outspoken and determined movement afoot to erase the profound impact of Black Americans in U.S. history.

PEN America has laid out the numerous educational gag orders being pushed forth by state legislatures and school boards in this excellent op-ed that highlights how Black History Month is under attack.

As someone who can still remember how validating and inspiring it felt to finally see myself represented among the historical heroes and story book characters we covered in class, I worry how today’s students must feel: “What’s scary about learning about people who look like me?”

I ask that those of you who support the celebration of Black History Month speak up.

Don’t allow a loud, radical minority dictate what is taught in our nation’s public schools. If you value public education and believe a quality public education includes learning the truth about our country’s history of racism, slavery, and the civil rights movement — and not just during Black History Month, speak up.

What I always loved most about Black History Month was how it wasn’t just the history of violence and struggle. It was about celebrating art, scientific advancements, music, literature, and telling the full history of people who looked like me. All students benefit from that. 

I was 10 years old when I had my first encounter with the police. By 11, I was locked in a juvenile detention center for the first time. My adolescence was spent in and out of the system, and when I was 17, I was waived into the adult system. I didn’t get out until I was 26.

I know what it’s like to grow up in the youth justice system, which is why I recently testified in favor of a bill here in Indiana that would make sure children under the age of 12 aren’t locked in detention centers when they mess up, but instead get the support they need to get on the right track.

When you are that young, there’s so much you don’t understand — about life, about punishment, about right and wrong. Yet for so many Black kids, one mistake can put you down a path that can feel impossible to escape.

When I was young, I met a kid even younger than me who at 8 years old was sentenced to serve time for stealing food from a dollar store. A few other young boys and I took this kid under our wing, but he still experienced all kinds of trauma. When kids so young are in detention centers, they’re at a greater risk for sexual assault, bullying and intimidation.

If a child is stealing food, a community’s response should not be to lock him up and put additional strain on his family.

I’ve been out of the justice system for eight years and now I’m using my experience to be the advocate I needed back then — someone who will speak to the lifelong harm done by locking children up.

I’m glad Stand for Children is working on changes to youth justice in Indiana and throughout the country so that kids and families have a fighting chance to succeed and thrive. I want to be a part of the evolutionary changes, not just for our youth but for families as well.

If we provide children with other paths to pursue in life, we’ll get to see the incredible places they end up in the future.

With all that public school teachers have endured these past two years, you would hope that politicians would be doing whatever possible to provide more support and encouragement. Instead, in many places across the U.S., teachers are under attack.

Recent public opinion research conducted by SurveyUSA, an independent research firm, and commissioned by Stand for Children, shows how the onslaught of partisan political attacks against educators threatens to push many out of the profession and worsen our nation’s teacher shortage.

pie graph title reads "nearly 3 in 10 teachers say they may leave the profession in the next year" graph highlights 29% of the pie graph in yellow with a key that reads "likely or very likely"

Among the findings in the SurveyUSA national teacher survey:

  • 37% of teachers say a push for laws that prevent honest teaching and conversations in their classrooms would make them more likely to leave teaching at the end of this school year.
  • 92% say students should be able to learn about historical truths, even when they are uncomfortable.
  • 94% say schools should ensure that no students feel unsafe, invisible, or unheard.

Make no mistake: This calculated effort to silence, vilify and demoralize public school teachers has an endgame: to decimate public education as we know it. To block certain students from gaining access to knowledge, and thus, to upward mobility. To destroy long-standing, trusted relationships between home and school.

We are not backing down from this fight because we understand the immeasurable value of public education. We hope you will continue standing with us.

Please take a moment to read the survey findings to hear more about how America’s teachers are feeling right now.

Reflecting on 2021, I see reasons for hope. The widespread availability of vaccines. A return to in-person learning. An economy that rebounded with record speed due to bold government action.

At the same time, there is cause for grave concern. Tens of millions of children and young people are struggling to recover academically, socially, and emotionally from the pandemic. Tragically, instead of using their power to help children and young people get on track, politicians are passing bans on conversations about race and discrimination that deny children the honest and unbiased understanding of the past they need to create a better future. At the same time, extremists are targeting and harassing school board members, principals, teachers, parents, and even students who want an accurate portrayal of U.S. history with diverse viewpoints.

Public education is the pathway to economic opportunity and the backbone of a healthy democracy.

That is why we must stand together against the politicians, media moguls, and ultra-wealthy political donors who are stirring up fear and hate and conspiring to make public education a political battleground at the expense of our children’s learning and well-being.

And it is why, together, we must continue to use our collective voice and votes to ensure that politicians at all levels do everything possible to protect and strengthen public education, support children and families’ well-being, and reduce the prevalence of racism and the harm it does to us all.

We are deeply grateful for your partnership and support, and we hope you will continue to stand with us in 2022.

I go to a small high school in a rural town in Washington. Most of my peers — about 85% — are white. When I get the opportunity to learn about Black history — when I hear about Maya Angelou or Zora Neale Hurston – I genuinely get excited. It’s my chance to learn about role models who look like me and have gone through similar experiences to me.

All students deserve to see themselves reflected in their schools and their curriculum. That’s why Stand for Children is striving to make racial equity a reality in public education by ensuring that students have access to an accurate, fact-based account of U.S. history and diverse perspectives in their classrooms.

Please consider donating to Stand today to support this important work.

It was only a few years ago when people didn’t really speak about racism and historical injustices very openly. I wasn’t being exposed to Black authors in school, but fortunately, things have changed. I can’t imagine not being able to talk about these issues, or read Black authors, or learn about the experiences of other cultures in the U.S. It would just be so one-sided. It would just be fake.

This censorship sounds dystopian, but it’s crazy because that’s what’s happening in certain states in the U.S. What’s the point of getting an education if you’re only getting one small fraction of it?

All students benefit when they have access to an accurate representation of history and how it manifests today. If you agree, please consider supporting Stand for Children this giving season and be part of the movement for racial equity in public education.

We’re one step closer to seeing the biggest investment in people since the New Deal.

Moments ago, the House voted to pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes a one-year extension of the monthly Child Tax Credit payments, paid family leave, expansion of affordable healthcare coverage, and other policies that will give a historic boost to middle-class American families.

The significance of this proposal cannot be understated. House members who voted for this agenda will be heavily criticized by those who don’t support significant investments in American families. We need to speak up to show that we appreciate the lawmakers who voted yes and recognize their commitment to children and families.

Send a quick note to your representative today to thank them for standing up for American families and voting to pass this plan!

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I’ve participated with Home Visit Partnerships for several years, and when I visit a student’s home, I love when they show me their favorite books. As a teacher, I hope every family I visit has a home library for their children, but unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Research has shown a home library increases vocabulary development, academic success, and an overall life success.

During one visit with a kindergarten student, I realized there were no books in the home at all. I began sending books home with the student throughout the fall and, when I visited their home again in the spring, the family had purchased a small bookcase to hold all the books. They were so proud to have a home library for their little reader!

Donate today to provide books for young students!

I will never forget how my student grabbed a book off their shelf and hopped up next to me and started reading. Then, their 3-year-old sibling grabbed a book and hopped up on my lap next to us and started “reading” by flipping through and looking at the pictures.

That moment highlighted the importance of making sure all my students have access to books. My student isn’t just learning how to read, they’re developing their love for reading and the skills to help them succeed in school and life.

Home Visit Partnerships has teamed up with Unite for Literacy to change the book deserts in North Texas into book gardens. By donating today, you are helping HVP teachers to build home libraries for their students and families, changing the trajectory of a child’s life.

With your gift, you will help plant the seeds for a child’s love of reading to flourish.

Stand for Children commends our nation’s leaders who, through the Build Back Better Framework, have set the path forward to providing families nationwide the resources they need to succeed. Through support for universal preschool education, children who are often the least prepared at the beginning of kindergarten will now have access to the building blocks of their education and be better positioned to thrive in school. Research demonstrates the profound impact that high-quality early education can have on children including reducing early achievement gaps, contributing to improved learning in the first five years of school, and then higher graduation rates. To have preschool extended to families who have not been able to afford it until now, is groundbreaking.

Over the past month, through phone banks we have operated to arm often disconnected families with information, and outreach to many more across the nation, we have heard from thousands of hard-working parents whose lives have been changed by receiving the monthly Child Tax Credit payments. This sweeping effort has cut child poverty by 45 percent. The payments have provided more than 35 million Americans with food security, the ability to afford rent, and the funds needed to take care of the basic needs of their children. This effort provides an important boost to the economy considering that for every dollar provided in CTC payments, $1.50 is generated in economic activity for the nation. While a one-year extension provides only temporary relief, we know it’s a first step in changing the futures of an entire generation of children.

Along with thousands of our supporters, we call upon members of both houses of Congress to support the legislation that will be built upon the Build Back Better framework and forever be a part of a historic investment in our nation’s future. Others interested in supporting this effort are welcome to join us by taking action.

As a student in the 1980s, I never imagined that the history lessons I received at my well-regarded high school omitted important portions of our country’s past. But that is indeed what happened.

Filling in these missing pieces decades later as an adult left me feeling disappointed in my history education and with the realization that I had been making assumptions about the world around me from a historical knowledge base with gaping holes.

Now as a parent and community member, I understand two things: First that teaching an honest and complete account of our country’s history is essential. It’s essential to achieving our goals of helping children become adults who can think critically and who won’t repeat the mistakes of the past. And second, we can’t assume that our local schools are teaching a full and truthful history. It’s up to us as parents and community members to tell our local school boards and superintendents that we do not want our children to receive a partial or cherry-picked history of our country.

That’s why I am grateful for the Learn from History Coalition. I appreciate knowing I’m not alone, that people and groups from across Illinois and across the country are working together and sharing ideas to support our schools in teaching the kind of history that will prepare our students for the world they will enter and one day lead.

I will keep doing this work because I don’t want today’s students to become adults and wonder what they are missing, as I did.

I hope you will join us.

Learn more about the Learn From History Coalition, including how you can get involved, at

Last week, Stand for Children put nearly 2,000 families in touch with their representatives in Washington D.C. to talk about how the expanded Child Tax Credit has made a difference in their lives.

Many families who shared their stories have been affected by illness, disability and other major hardships that strained their finances. Thanks to the expanded CTC, these families and countless others are now able to give their children what they need to grow and thrive. But as of now, the expanded CTC is set to expire at the end of 2021.

Sign the petition today to stand with American families and tell lawmakers in Washington that you want the expanded CTC to be made permanent!

Today, advocates and champions, including members of Congress and leaders, are coming together in D.C. to call for an expanded CTC as well as paid family/medical leave, childcare, home-and community-based services for older people and people with disabilities, living wages and a path to citizenship for all care workers as part of the reconciliation package. Tune in to this event on Facebook at 12:30pm ET to hear stories that highlight the urgent need for a care infrastructure to lift businesses, families, and our economy.