On Wednesday, December 2nd, the African American Policy Forum hosted a very special 20th episode of our hit series Under the Blacklight titled, “#TruthBeTold: The Destructiveness of Trump's Equity Gag Order & What Biden Must Do Now.”
This episode chronicled the impact and history of the Trump Administration's Executive Order 13950—an order also known as the Equity Gag Order—which prohibits federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients from facilitating workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives, and attacks equity programming more broadly.
The very concepts we discussed are on a list of prohibited ideas that have been labeled “un-American.” If we were a federal agency, a government contractor, or even a federal grant recipient, this webinar would likely be prohibited. In fact, if you were offended by the very thought of this webinar, you could use a snitch hotline to report us.
With a Biden-Harris victory, it’s easy to believe our work is done, but our work is far from over. We must fight to repeal this Equity Gag Order. And we invite you to join our #TruthBeTold Campaign to ensure that it is. Even more importantly, we must quantify the damage that has been done and account for the sentiments that undergird the ban’s creation.
But before we act, we have to understand. And we couldn’t have had a better team prepared to help us to do that. AAPF Executive Director Kimberlé Crenshaw was joined by Janai Nelson, Lisa Rice, Carol Anderson, Rachel Godsil, Charles Lawrence, and Laura Gómez who the Equity Gag Order. The discussion centered both on the practical implications of the Equity Gag Order as well as the role of narratives in understanding both our present and our past, and our panelists illuminated the fact that the Order is far more extensive and damaging to social justice than it may appear.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the invaluable insight from some of our panelists:
Carol Anderson told us how, "When you have really bad historical narratives you're able to justify really bad policies in housing, in healthcare, in education, in the criminal justice system based on those false narratives."
Janai Nelson gave powerful testimony on the ways in which key civil rights achievements of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund—from litigating Brown v. Board and desegregating schools to combating voter suppression—would have been all but impossible had the Equity Gag Order been in place when they led those charges.
And Lisa Rice spoke about how the Equity Gag Order prevents her from naming the causes of residential segregation and racial disparities in homeownership, making it impossible to carry out the National Fair Housing Alliance's mission of ending all forms of housing discrimination.