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U.S. Department of Education Building
Op-Ed February 1, 2023

The NAACP applauds the OCR Factsheet Confirming that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act Supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

U.S. Department of Education Building

As the NAACP director of Education Innovation and Research, I commend the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights for their courageous stance in providing a factsheet to uphold the values enshrined by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. In this time, where attacks on Critical Race Theory are surging, it is essential to guard diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives against public officials who wish to revise history by denying systemic racism.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act guarantees that those who receive Federal funding cannot discriminate against persons based on their race, ethnicity, or national origin. This law seeks to ensure equal educational opportunities and the right to access public services regardless of one's identity to create a more just society.

For too long, systemic racism has created hostile and oppressive environments in educational settings nationwide. The NAACP has been leading the charge to combat such discrimination for more than 100 years; routinely using our powers under the Civil Rights Act to hold those systems accountable. The Office for Civil Rights has made clear their support of diversity and inclusion activities, with President Biden affirming that "diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility benefit the Nation."

The NAACP call on institutions to take bold action to provide an equitable learning environment for all learners. We advocate for implementing programs centered on anti-racism, implicit bias, education about systemic racism, and cultural competency training – all of which are protected by Title VI. More importantly, these programs create a safe learning environment with equitable access to educational excellence and opportunities.

Dr. Ivory Toldson

Director of Education Innovation and Research