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Local educators to hold rally to 'Teach the Truth'

Event will be at the Robinson-Shuba Statue in Wean Park.
Shuba AAA 07172021
Robinson-Shuba Commemorative Statue

YOUNGSTOWN — Teachers from the Youngstown City Schools District will hold a "Teach the Truth" rally on Saturday to protest House Bill 322 which is intended to prevent the teaching of historic facts about racism and oppression.

The rally will begin at 3 p.m. at the Robinson-Shuba Statue in Wean Park downtown.

Heather Smith, Amy Gordiejew, Sonya Lenoir and Reshaun Yancey are among the teachers who will participate in the rally. Joining them will be students who are members of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.

Also participating in the rally will be: Michael Charney, a retired teacher and editor of Teacher Unions and Social Justice, Organizing for the Schools and Communities Our Students Deserve; and Keith Lamar, founder of NativeSonsLiteracy.org.

In a news release, the teachers say they will not be bullied against teaching the truth about U.S. history. 

House Bill 322 was recently introduced by Republican legislators in the Ohio legislature to prevent teaching historic facts about racism, sexism and other forms of oppression.

Lawmakers in more than 15 states are attempting to ban lessons about racism from being taught in schools.

Smith said that not acknowledging the country’s actual history, including racism and other oppression, is deception, not education.

Smith says these educators pledge to continue teaching students critical thinking skills that develop problem-solving and collective solutions. Their goal, she said, is to help students understand the power of knowledge to create a more just society.

The Robinson-Shuba statue was dedicated in July and commemorates the moment in 1946 when George Shuba, a Youngstown native, was the first to congratulate his Black teammate Jackie Robinson for hitting a homer. A year later, Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1955, Shuba and Robinson were teammates when the Dodgers were World Series champions.

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