President Trump has declared a full-fledged war on racial and gender justice.

On September 22nd, the Trump administration issued a ban on essential training and federal grant projects that address systemic racism and sexism. This Equity Gag Order is a dangerous decree that threatens to undo decades of progress toward workplace equality and equity in federal funding. The executive order—which prohibits federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients from hosting workplace diversity and inclusion training that touches on such fundamental concepts as structural racism and unconscious bias—is an authoritarian tool intended to silence those working to hold honest conversations about the history and continuing legacies of injustice in America. 

The Equity Gag Order demands surveillance and silences those who seek to have honest conversations about America's history of chattel slavery, white supremacy, and patriarchy. Since the order was announced, along with the creation of a federal snitch line to report violations, a climate of fear has spread like wildfire across government agencies, businesses, schools, and civil society.

The State Department canceled all diversity trainings for its 76,000 employees; universities have paused programs including trainings on race or sex stereotyping; researchers that use critical race concepts have been warned that their grant applications will be thrown out; and some public lectures, including one on Hispanic heritage, have been abruptly canceled. In one particularly telling instance, the University of Mississippi rejected a $42,000 grant to support a political education project on mass incarceration and immigrant detention for fear that the project would be prohibited.     

In short, the Trump administration’s Equity Gag Order reflects the formal adoption of a twisted ideology that treats racial justice advocates as the actual racists in the workplace, and seeks to extinguish anti-racism training from federal agencies. In the President’s own words: “[c]ritical race theory, the 1619 Project, and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together. It will destroy our country.” What started in the racist fringe is now being openly embraced and promoted with the full force of the federal government. 

This abuse of power by the federal government to muzzle educators and activists is not new. We witnessed it in the 1960s with the FBI’s efforts to demonize Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Freedom Movement. During the McCarthy Era, the Senate and House led witch hunts that destroyed lives and ruined careers by accusing justice-oriented people of being subversive agents and un-American traitors. And we see it today as Black Lives Matter activists are labeled “Black Identity Extremists" and treated as dangerous dissidents because they dare to declare that Black lives have value. Having been marked by the federal government, leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement now face threats from white supremacist terrorists. 

The Equity Gag Order threatens to roll back 50 years of civil rights progress and take us back to a period in our nation’s history when speaking up for social justice was met with imprisonment, censorship, financial ruin, and state-sanctioned death.

We’re calling on the White House to repeal the Equity Gag Order.

Sign the petition now demanding the immediate repeal of the Trump administration’s Equity Gag Order, its related executive actions, as well as the mass surveillance and punishment that has spread far and wide as a result of these efforts.

If you would like to join our #TruthBeTold movement by sharing your experiences on how the Equity Gag Order has impacted your job, workplace or community, please fill out our survey which serves as a forum for people to communicate when, where, and how people have been affected so far.


COMPLETE THE SURVEY   |  (212) 854-3049  |  435 West 116th Street New York, NY 10027

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