News

Equality Organizations Launch Coalition to Protect the FAIR Education Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Francisco – Led by Equality California, Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, a broad coalition of advocates for equality have launched a coordinated effort to protect the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act and to educate the public about its impact.

The coalition includes people of faith; labor organizations; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights groups; disability rights advocates; racial justice organizations and many other groups who care about equality.

“The movement for LGBT rights is among the most diverse social justice movements in the nation and we are proud to have that diversity represented in our coalition,” said Roland Palencia, Executive Director of Equality California. “Working together to Protect the FAIR Education Act will ensure that students not only learn accurate information about our equality movement, but also about the roles LGBT people have played in movements and historic moments that have fundamentally shaped our nation.”

“The FAIR Education Act enables all California students to learn an honest account of history, which includes the contributions of women, people of color, LGBT people, people with disabilities, and other historically underrepresented groups,” said Gay-Straight Alliance Network Executive Director Carolyn Laub. “This coalition is determined to protect the FAIR Education Act and stop the extremist effort to censor LGBT people and people with disabilities from history.”

“Learning the contributions made by activists of the disability rights movement is essential to a full understanding of our history, just as an understanding of the civil rights movement and the pioneers of women's suffrage and the LGBT rights movement are an essential part of our history lessons,” said Teresa Favuzzi, Executive Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. “The FAIR Education Act truly is a step in the right direction and it's important for us to make sure that this landmark victory that promotes understanding in our schools is upheld because it's time for our history classes and textbooks to accurately reflect the rich and diverse history of California.”

The diverse coalition to protect the FAIR Education Act includes (partial list): 

ACLU San Diego
ACLU Southern California
Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club
Asian Pacific Islander Equality
API Equality LA 
Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition
California Council of Churches
California Faith for Equality 
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
California Teachers Association
Courage Campaign 
COLAGE
Equal Roots
Equality California 
Freedom to Marry
GAPSN
Get Equal
GLSEN
GSA Network 
Honor PAC
Honor Fund
Jordan Rustin Coalition
LA Gay and Lesbian Center
Latino Equality Alliance
Love Cherish Honor
Marriage Equality Los Angeles
Marriage Equality Silicon Valley
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Orange County Equality Coalition
Orange County Fairview Church
Our Family Coalition
PFLAG-San Francisco
Progressive Interfaith Alliance of Orange County
Sacramento Area Teachers
San Francisco Pride SEIU
Transgender Law Center
Vote For Equality 
Unitarian Universalists Legislative Ministry

Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last month, the FAIR Education Act ensures the fair and accurate portrayal of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement and people with disabilities in social science instruction.  Anti-equality advocates, including the Capitol Resource Institute, are circulating petitions for a referendum that asks voters to overturn the FAIR Education Act.  They will need to collect over a half million signatures in order to qualify for a referendum on the June 2012 ballot.

 

CONTACT: Rebekah Orr, Equality California
PHONE: 415-498-0847 EMAIL: rebekah@eqca.org 

CONTACT: Jill Marcellus, Gay-Straight Alliance Network 
PHONE: 415-552-4229 EMAIL: jill@gsanetwork.org 

 

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Equality California is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org  
 
Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national youth leadership organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training student leaders and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs throughout the country. In California alone, GSA Network has brought GSA clubs to 56% of public high schools, impacting more than 1.1 million students at 850 schools. GSA Network's youth advocates have played a key role in changing laws and policies that impact youth at the local and state level. GSA Network operates the National Association of GSA Networks, which unites more than 30 statewide networks of GSA clubs throughout the country.  GSA Network is also the founder of the Make It Better Project, which aims to stop bullying and prevent suicide. www.gsanetwork.org

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers advocates for barrier-free access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in community life by increasing the capacity of Independent Living Centers to achieve their missions. www.cfilc.org 
 
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