Taking Action: Protecting and Supporting Unfettered Access to Education for All

What can you do to help protect diversity, equality and inclusion curriculum and materials and the boards, faculty and administrators who are under fire as they do so?   


TELL MARRIOTT HOTELS TO JUST SAY NO TO HATE! Sign a petition to ask Marriott Hotels to refuse to allow Moms for Liberty to hold its national convention in Philadelphia.



REPORT ATTEMPTS AT LIBRARY CENSORSHIP! Report any attempts to remove materials from any library based on content to the New Jersey Library Association





Show up to school board meetings, even if you don’t have children in that school district. Education is a community effort, and we need to make sure our voices are as loud as theirs. 

Organizations like HC Rise and NJ Public Education Coalition provide information about dates, time and location of school board meetings, encouraging like-minded folks to show up to counter RW extremists and be aware of topics and discussion. Often, a group showing up can cause the vocal minority to pull or modify their comments. 


Meet with school board candidates, make them specify their priorities, and ask them where they stand on issues of censorship, curriculum, and diversity, equity and inclusion. It can be difficult to find this information, and sometimes to contact the candidates, so engage your local media in trying to shed some light on these elections. That’s their job.  

If you are part of a local organization, try to schedule a candidates’ forum, or ask the media to do a Q&A with each candidate. Make sure information is as widely available as possible.


They are fielding candidates for every school board election they can. For them, school boards are the gateway drug to local and then national elections. It should be the same for us. If you have thought about running for office, or about ways you can serve your community, this is a great way to get started. Here is some key information:

New Jersey

  • Information: New Jersey School Boards Association information about how to become a school board member: 
  • Petition filing date for Hunterdon County school board candidates: Monday, July 24, 2023 
  • Petition and candidate forms are available on the Hunterdon County clerk’s website under information for candidates (the current form is from 2022 so check for updates or call). 


  • Information: Pennsylvania School Boards Association: https://www.psba.org/
  • Petition deadline to appear on the May 16 primary ballot has passed, but write-ins for the general election are still possible. 


ACLU: The ACLU has taken on numerous cases fighting censorship in violation of the First Amendment and Title IX and protection of LGBTQ+ student rights. 

FILE A COMPLAINT WITH ACLU-NJ: https://www.aclu-nj.org/en/complaint-form/

Action Together NJ: One of NJ’s largest grassroots organizations is taking on the initiative to provide more information and transparency about school board members and candidates

Defense of Democracy: Defense of Democracy advocates for inclusive public education, fighting to protect students’ civil rights against hate groups. It supports legislators, educators, and administrators. It launched in November 2022, and has been effective in blocking Moms for Liberty’s efforts. It has chapters in various states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania. DoD is organizing Chapters in NJ and PA

Districts for Democracy: Tom Malinowski’s new PAC supporting efforts to fight censorship at the school board level. 

EveryLibrary is the first and only national political action committee (PAC) for libraries.

New Jersey Library Association: REPORT ATTEMPTS AT CENSORSHIP TO  THE NEW JERSEY LIBRARY ASSOCIATION. NJLA categorically rejects any efforts to censor or remove materials from any library based on content. They strongly affirm the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement, first published by the American Library Association in 1953. 

New Jersey Public Education Coalition: A coalition of educators, administrators, education professionals, municipal leaders and representatives as well as concerned and involved parents. The organization’s goal is to protect public schools from PACs and dark mMoney that seek to disrupt and adulterate education with hate, intolerance and racial bias. It shares information and ideas to ensure that parents are organized in each municipality and prepared with information and defenses to oppose these groups and discredit them. 

Read: The radical right’s latest target: School diversity, equity & inclusion programs

HC RISE:  A Hunterdon County group of concerned students and citizens organized to defend school boards, staff and administrators against attacks on DEI policies, instruction and materials. Their goal is to be a regular presence at school board meetings, and to vet school board candidates and support good ones. They are currently looking for information from districts for BOE candidate planning:

  • What seats are up in November?
  • Who is planning to run that is currently seated?
  • What seats are at risk (running unopposed to extremists, no one running, etc.)?

OUR SCHOOLS USA: Offers a number of resources and online training for empowering parents, students, and community members to protect quality public education for all students including school board issue organizing. The organization will hold a SB candidate training April 4, 2023 at 5 PM Pacific via Zoom. 

PEN America, standing at the intersection of literature and human rights, this 100-year old, global organization works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.

Unite Against Book Bans: A national initiative to empower readers to stand together to fight censorship

On Twitter: Extremist School Board Watch – Pennsylvania: Bringing awareness about extremist school board candidates/incumbents in Pennsylvania.

Write a Letter to the Editor – Example

I write to express my deep concern about the imminent threat that extremist organizations, under the guise of “parental rights,” are posing to the quality of education we value in our public schools. By lobbying to censor books and curriculum, threatening educators, administrators and school board members, and marginalizing vulnerable students, their assault on diversity and freedom of inquiry amounts to an assault on democracy itself.

The benefits of diversity in education are well-documented. The American Psychological Association provides a breadth of research showing that “experience with issues of privilege and systemic inequity lead to positive changes in students’ attitudes and values”. In addition, an inclusive classroom provides global academic benefits, such as improved critical thinking and higher overall achievement levels for both majority and minority group members. Overall, when young people have positive diversity experiences, their interest in improving the lives of people in their communities increases. But that is increasingly under threat.

Historically, school board elections have been non-political, and perhaps for that reason, haven’t drawn a lot of interest. This apathy has enabled the election of extremists who would actively work to deny our children the education they deserve, and which they need in order to participate in our democracy. 

If we want to instill in the next generation the core values on which this country was founded, we cannot let this happen. We need to show up, stand up and speak up. Anyone who is concerned about this creeping threat can, and should, take a stand in support of diversity in education:

  • Show up at board meetings
  • Vet school board candidates to be sure they support the values of a robust public education
  • Write letters to the media, and to municipal, county and state public and school officials
  • Run for a school board seat
  • Report censorship and exclusionary attempts or incidents to the American Library Association and the ACLU. 
  • And especially, if you have children or are close to children, talk to them about what’s happening in their school and their own experience. 

Holocaust survivor, author, educator and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel said:  

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”*

Take sides for students, for a better community, and for open, unfettered education that respects everyone. 

*This quote was temporarily removed from a school library in Bucks County as a violation of  the school’s policy banning “advocacy activities.” 

(Gurin et al., 2002)

(Bowman, 2010)

(Elicker et al., 2009)

(Bowman, 2011)

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