Citizens Project stands for equity, inclusion, and justice, and we are opposed to actions, words, or policies that reflect racist, homophobic, or transphobic sentiments.
We are especially concerned that these disparaging sentiments are being amplified by elected representatives, including in school boards throughout this region. Those who use their positions of public trust to promote their personal bigotry should be called out, sanctioned, and—in due course—recalled.
We are also appalled at the hypocrisy that these sentiments are often expressed in the name of non-discrimination when the intent is clearly to discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race or gender identity. Monument Academy School Board’s recent “proclamation” to defy laws instructing the school regarding biological sex-specific facilities and activities under the guise of non-discrimination and protection of privacy is one example.
We cannot claim to be a democratic society—free from tyranny whether from a minority or a majority—without the rule of law, and there can be no effective rule of law without accountability.
In this regard, we especially applaud Inside Out Youth Services for its boldness and courage in launching an Open Letter to all school boards and boards of education in the Pikes Peak region in support of transgender students, staff, faculty, and families, and we encourage concerned citizens to join us by adding their names to that letter (see https://insideoutys.org).
Citizens Project is also concerned by the growing assault on academic freedom by individuals, groups, and organizations that seek to ban books, films, and other literature and media that discuss the history of racial and gender discrimination in the United States on the grounds that some individuals might find that history “disturbing.” Citizens Project spoke out in 2021 against attempts to legislate bans on “critical race theory”; those promoting such bans propagate falsehoods about what it is they seek to ban and violate freedom of speech in the classroom. City Council’s recent appointment of individuals to the Pikes Peak Library Board who openly expressed their desire to censure certain books based on their personal beliefs seems part of a broader—and particularly dangerous—trend to restrict individual freedom when it doesn’t suit one’s political beliefs.
We live in a society where “freedom” is a much cherished and constitutionally protected right. That freedom must be for all people—both those who enjoy privilege and advantage and those who are marginalized, under-represented, discounted, or discriminated against. “EQUITY”—one of Citizens Project’s core values—is a concept that seeks to ensure that everyone has the freedom to gain access to opportunities and resources in society and secure the benefits of life, liberty, and happiness.
In this society, WE have the responsibility to ensure those freedoms are available to everyone, regardless of racial identity, ethnicity, national origin, language, age, religion/spirituality, socioeconomic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, or different abilities, skills, customs, values, beliefs or behavioral styles. That is our definition of “INCLUSION”—another of Citizens Project’s core values. We fulfill that responsibility in our individual behavior, our engagement in the community, and by our determination to be an informed voter in all elections, whether national, state, or local. We must protect our rights to do so, lest we lose the freedom that we cherish.