On this day in 1982, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Plyler v. Doe that states could not deny public education to students who were not legally admitted into the country. Doing so, they said, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Since the ruling only applied to K-12 students, other court cases and legislation made it possible for some states to deny undocumented students access to in-state tuition, scholarships, or enrollment at public colleges and universities. Cite the values of voice, equity, and community on this date.
Trump’s Muslim Ban
Today is the anniversary of President Trump’s “Muslim Ban” executive order which barred the entry of nationals and refugees from 11 Muslim-majority nations. The Supreme Court later upheld a similar, updated ban. The Biden administration rescinded the policy as one of its first executive actions following the inauguration, but the date reminds us of our ongoing work to counter xenophobia and replace it with policies and narratives to welcome immigrants and refugees. When discussing this anniversary, cite the values of Voice, Community, and Economic Security.
Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Today we also celebrate the birthday and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This federal holiday is a great opportunity to talk about the ongoing struggle for racial justice in the United States by citing the values of Equality, Community, and Economic Security.
Arrest of Queen Lili`uokalani
On this day in 1893, U.S. Marines overthrew the independent indigenous kingdom of Hawai`i and subsequently arrested Queen Lili`uokalani. American business leaders and the children of missionaries wanted the islands to be annexed by the United States. Pres. William McKinley authorized the annexation five years later. It’s important to discuss this anniversary as part of the United States’ larger history of violating Indigenous peoples’ rights. Cite the values of Voice, Economic Security, and Community.
On this day in 1870 (150 years ago), Hiram Revels was sworn in as senator from Mississippi, becoming the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate. Revels is one of only 11 African Americans ever to have served in the United States Senate. Discuss this anniversary with the values of equity and voice.
Legalization of Prohibition
On this day in 1919, Prohibition was legalized with the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Today, we view this period as a wasteful, punitive and ill-conceived intrusion on the lives of Americans. This era is often noted in conversations about the need for criminal justice reform and more humane drug policies that center equity and emphasize harm reduction. Use this anniversary to discuss how far our nation has come in upholding the values of Redemption and Community.
Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Human Trafficking Awareness Day is an opportunity to draw more attention to forced labor, debt bondage, involuntary servitude, and sex trafficking affecting thousands of men, women, and children in the U.S. and around the world. This year’s commemoration comes roughly a month after VICE News reported on one of the largest investigations of “modern-day slavery” impacting migrant laborers in South Georgia. Refer to the values of Voice, Economic Security, and Equality when discussing human trafficking.
W. E. B. Du Bois
On this day in 1868, W. E. B. Du Bois was born. He was a sociologist, historian, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor, was one of the co-founders of the NAACP in 1909 and the leader of the Niagara Movement. Discuss his birthday as another example of working for racial justice. Cite the values of equity and voice.
The Lemon Grove Incident
The struggle for desegregated schools is often seen as an East Coast issue. On Jan. 5, 1931, however, the principal of the Lemon Grove Grammar School refused to admit Mexican-American and migrant children. The resulting legal case, Roberto Alvarez vs. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District, became the first successful school desegregation court decision in the history of the United States. Cite the values of Voice, Equality, and Community.
On this day in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. The Zinn Education Project notes that few textbooks credit the real anti-slavery heroes in this story: the enslaved themselves, along with their Black and white abolitionist allies. You can also make the connection to attacks on Critical Race Theory and the importance of being honest about our nation’s history. Cite the values of Voice, Equality, and Economic Security.