OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a measure that would require schools to teach about the Civil Rights Movement in order to fight against hate.
Rep. Mark Lepak, (R-Oklahoma City), has filed House Bill 1397.
The measure requires every public elementary school and high school in Oklahoma to teach about “the events of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968, the natural law and natural rights principles that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., drew from that informed his leadership of the Civil Rights Movement, and the tactics and strategies of nonviolent resistance that he championed in response to the Jim Crow laws of that era.”
The language of the bill says it was a time when Americans rejected the doctrine of ‘separate by equal’ and to repeal the Jim Crow-era laws.
“One of the universal lessons of the civil rights era is that hatred on the basis of immutable characteristics, including not just race or ethnicity, but also characteristics such as nationality, religious belief, disability, or sex, can overtake any nation or society, leading to profound injustice,” the measure reads.
The bill says the curriculum should include studying other acts of discriminatory injustice, such as genocide, committed elsewhere across the world.
It states that curriculum should include the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Chinese ‘Coolie’ labor in Cuba, the Uyghurs in China, and the Rohingya of Burma.
The measure says it is necessary to “reject bigotry, to champion equal protection under the law as a foundational principle of our Republic, and to act in opposition to injustice wherever it may occur.”
The bill calls on the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to prepare the instructional materials that can be used as a guideline by school districts.
If passed, the act would go into effect on Nov. 1.