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Statements

Moral Panic/Divisive Topics

Statement Author:
Ginney Norton
Date:
5/25/22

The GLO Center stands in solidarity and support of students, educators, and community members across the country who voice their opposition to new state laws regarding divisive topics and restricting bodily autonomy. This proposed legislation will negatively impact marginalized groups, specifically harming individuals and communities based on gender, sexuality, and race.

After unprecedented global protests for racial justice that followed the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, extremist groups have instigated and intensified well-funded, coordinated disinformation campaigns against critical race theory, intersectionality, and other forms of racial and gender justice discourse. Starting with the Equity Gag Order banning federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients from conducting trainings and programs that address systemic racism and sexism, this campaign has now morphed into a full scale strategy against racial and gender justice itself in state legislation and local politics (Truth Be Told Campaign, 2022).

Across the country, moral panic over what and how we learn about history has led to teachers being fired, courses canceled, books banned, and further decimation of public school funding. According to Freedom for All America, in the 2022 school year there are currently 170 anti-LGBTQ+ sets of legislation, with at least 69 of them centered on school policies (NCSS, 2022). The state of Missouri has entertained more than 25 pieces of legislation of this kind in the 2022 legislative session. These pieces of legislation target gender, sexuality, and race simultaneously and have a far reaching impact on students and educators across the country. If enacted, it will take generations to recover from the loss of knowledge and advocacy.

Additionally, moral panic surrounding bodily autonomy is being challenged. In Missouri, several trigger laws are in place that will be enacted if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Anti-abortion policies are three times as likely to impact black child-bearers as white child-bearers. Trigger laws in place will also greatly affect LGBTQ+ folks in rationalizing and revoking bodily autonomy
through banning trans athletes and revoking gender affirming healthcare. Additional resources that support bodily autonomy such as IVF and Plan B will be targeted.

Community stakeholders should not be silent on these issues, nor should they fear building inclusive environments that serve everyone. We stand with students, families, and our fellow educators who have the right to live authentically. As such, the GLO Center supports the following recommendations (NCTE, 2022) on how to pursue anti racist and anti-homophobic discourses include:

  • Identify and challenge individual and/or systemic acts of racism and other forms of discrimination and bigotry;
  • Express declarations of solidarity with people of diverse human, cultural, and racial backgrounds to eradicate all forms of racism, bias, and prejudice;
  • Promote not only cultural diversity, but also explicitly advocate for antiracism and anti-homophobia by participating in ongoing awareness and reconciliatory action to productively counter racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry.
  • Advocate for legislative reform that will lead to policies that provide sanctions against discrimination in education based on race, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, class, mental and physical abilities, nationality, and migrant, immigrant, and refugee status.

Upcoming Events

NEW Annual GLO Center Meeting

What: FREE! Presentations from Co-President and Youth Representative, Keynote Speaker Sammy Rangel, Music from Charlie Becker, and appetizers from Simply Delicious. 
When: Tuesday, September 13, 5pm – 7pm
Where: Q Enoteca

Ozarks Pridefest 2022 – Harvest Pride

What: Our biggest PRIDE event with a parade and live entertainment! More info TBA!
When: Saturday, October 8
Where: Downtown Springfield

Rainbow Kids Nature Center Outing

What:Join us at the Nature Center for the program “Strange But Amazing” – a look at the diversity, life cycles, and adaptations of Missouri’s most interesting creatures! See real live creatures, look around at the exhibits, do a craft, and take a hike! This event is free, but registration is required and limited to 20 kids plus their grownups. Please register by October 11 by emailing youthcoordinator@glocenter.org.
When: Saturday, October 15, 2pm – 4pm
Where: 4601 S Nature Center Way, Springfield, MO 65804