**FILE** Book display of works on critical race theory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** Book display of works on critical race theory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The D.C. Democratic Women’s Club (DCDWC), under the leadership of President Jeannette Mobley, is hosting its annual Black History Month event.

The public is invited to participate in a virtual panel discussion on critical race theory, or CRT, on Tuesday, Feb. 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Visit the Club’s website (www.dcdemocraticwomensclub.org) to find the Zoom link. Here’s your chance to get a scholarly understanding of what CRT really is.

Confirmed panelists include:

– Ayo Sakai, facilitator.

– Sharon Pratt, attorney and former mayor of Washington, D.C.

– Rev. George Holmes, a political and social activist.

– Frank Smith,  former D.C. Council member and the founder of the African-American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation.

– C. Patrick Burrowes, a historian specializing in Liberia.

– Emira Woods, who specializes in foreign policy and history.

The Brookings Institution wrote in a November story that Fox News has mentioned “critical race theory” 1,300 times in less than four months. Why? Because CRT has become a new boogeyman for people unwilling to acknowledge our country’s racist history and how it affects the present.

Opponents fear CRT admonishes all white people for being oppressors while classifying all Black people as hopelessly oppressed victims. Not true! These fears have kicked off lengthy discussions at school board meetings and at state legislatures from Tennessee to Idaho, suggesting a ban on teachings about racism in classrooms.

There is a fundamental problem with this, and that is, these narratives about CRT are grossly over-exaggerated. Scholars and activists who discuss CRT are not arguing that white people living now are to blame for what people did in the past. They are saying that white people living now have a moral responsibility to do something about how racism still affects all of our lives today.

Supporters of CRT bans often quote Martin Luther King Jr.’s proclamation that individuals should be viewed by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin, ignoring the context of the quote and the true meaning behind it, which the King family disagrees with.

“I don’t think we can ignore race,” says Martin Luther King III. “What my father is asking is to create a climate where every American can realize his or her dreams. Now what does that mean when you have 50 million people living in poverty?”

Bernice King doubts her father would seek to ignore differences.

“When he talked about the beloved community, he talked about everyone bringing their gifts, their talents, their cultural experiences,” she says. “We live in a society where we may have differences, of course, but we learn to celebrate these differences.”

A Brookings Institution assessment of anti-CRT legislation found that nine states — Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Arizona and North Dakota — have passed such legislation, while Arizona’s legislation was overturned in November by the Arizona Supreme Court.

“None of the state bills that have passed even actually mention the words ‘critical race theory’ explicitly, with the exception of Idaho and North Dakota,” the institute wrote. “The legislations mostly ban the discussion, training, and/or orientation that the U.S. is inherently racist as well as any discussions about conscious and unconscious bias, privilege, discrimination, and oppression.”

The D.C. Democratic Women’s Club is located in the District of Columbia and was chartered in 1966. It has at the heart of its existence the goal of preparing and training women for elected office and supporting Democratic candidates and the party. 

The Club’s website shows all officers and committee chairs, including Kim Greenfield Alfonso and Valca Valentine, who co-chair the event. Saymendy Lloyd and I are co-chairs of planning. DCDWC is a member group of the National Federation of Democratic Women, which is recognized by the Democratic National Committee.

Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email lyndiagrantshowdc@gmail.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.

Lyndia Grant

A seasoned radio talk show host, national newspaper columnist, and major special events manager, Lyndia is a change agent. Those who experience hearing messages by this powerhouse speaker are changed forever!

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