Dozens of students, teachers and education activists marched to a Miami-Dade County school board meeting Tuesday to protest Florida’s teaching standards on Black history.
The standards include an instruction describing slavery as having some positive outcomes, such as teaching skills to enslaved people. They have been widely criticized by Black leaders and Democrats across the country who say the standards distort history.
In a speech last month, Vice President Harris said the standards are “pushing propaganda on children.”
“[Slavery] involved some of the worst examples of depriving people of humanity in our world,” she said. “So in the context of that, how is it that anyone could suggest that in the midst of these atrocities, that there was any benefit to being subjected to this level of dehumanization?”
About 50 people marched a mile from a majority-Black neighborhood in Miami to the school board meeting, where they gathered and gave speeches.
One of the speakers was Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson (D), who was expelled by the state House in April after participating in a gun control protest. He was reinstated and won a special election for his seat this month.
“The true history is that Black people have always fought to make America what it ought to be, and it has always resisted what it could be,” Pearson told the crowd. “We’ve always fought for the America that we know is possible. That is not here yet.”
The Black history education standards were passed last month and require lessons on race to be taught in an “objective” manner that does not seek to “indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has folded the policy into his presidential campaign agenda fighting against “wokeness.” He has defended the measure, saying Harris and others have misinterpreted it.
“Democrats like Kamala Harris have to lie about Florida’s educational standards to cover for their agenda of indoctrinating students and pushing sexual topics onto children,” he said in a statement. “Florida stands in their way and we will continue to expose their agenda and their lies.”
Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only Black Republican Senator and a fellow presidential candidate, also fired shots at DeSantis over the standards.
“There is no silver lining in slavery,” Scott said. “Slavery was really about separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating.”
The standards’ passage last month came after the state effectively banned a college-level African American studies course for high school students in January. That move also sparked national backlash.
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