Published September 10, 2021
All Civil Dissent Must Be Exercised Within Legal Parameters and In A Respectful Manner
Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) issues the following statement in response to a disruptive protest that unexpectedly caused the 09/09 Poway Unified board meeting to adjourn:
CFER recognizes and promotes the constitutional rights of private citizens, parents and community members to demand equal treatment and hold local elected officials accountable to a quality public education free of political biases and indoctrination. However, CFER strongly disagrees with the disorderly manner in which a group of protestors disrupted the 09/09 public meeting held by the Poway Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education.
We firmly believe that all dissenting activities, including public demonstrations, rallies and protests, must be conducted in a way that observes the rule of law and respects the other party's dignity, freedom and liberty. As much as grievances require redress and acknowledgement, other individuals' rights to peaceful assembly and to disagree freely must be taken into full consideration.
CFER considers it imprudent and unwise for any riotous elements to hijack and compromise any bottom-up, authentic movement that has been intended to empower local community members. Not only did the 09/09 protest risk compromising other local social movements, it was also a disservice to the larger community that created unwanted divisions.
These comments do not reflect CFER policies of the PUSD Board. For months, CFER has led an ongoing community campaign to expose the PUSD Board's promotion of critical race theory (CRT) through the "Racial Equity & Inclusion" initiatives and its newly approved ethnic studies/literature courses. We have also promoted a petition drive to demand PUSD root out CRT, which has gathered over 400 signatures from PUSD residents. On the eve of the 09/09 board meeting, we disseminated an action alert to encourage community members to sign up and give public comments in opposition to the District's engagement with CRT. CFER's advocacy and community organizing are rule-based, evidence-based and knowledge-based: we raise public awareness on issues related to our cause by equipping our supporters with information and practical tools, and by following appropriate civic protest.
CRT fancies a public education system in which students are indoctrinated to pursue ideologically-driven social justice goals, instead of being fully educated on our history and diverse cultures. We vehemently oppose such an activism-based pedagogy and support true education that unites and empowers. In closing, we are walking the talk with this statement.
About Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER):We are a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and raise public awareness on the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop. 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment.