Judicial Watch Sues NY To Clean Up Voter Rolls
D.C. Schools Pushed Racial Segregation in Employee ‘Affinity Spaces’
Judicial Watch Sues after New York City Fails to Clean Voter Rolls
$195 Million to “Redress the Legacy of Harm” in Racist Transportation Infrastructure
D.C. Schools Pushed Racial Segregation in Employee ‘Affinity Spaces’
The school district in your nation’s capital is spending tax dollars to promote segregation based upon race and sexual identity.
We received 194 pages of records from District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) which show that DC officials pushed segregated “Affinity Spaces” on the basis of race and sexual identity.
We obtained the records in response to a June 24, 2021, FOIA request for:
Records identifying the number of affinity spaces hosted by District of Columbia Public Schools from August 31, 2020 to June 24, 2021.
Records identifying the topics discussed during any affinity spaces hosted by District of Columbia Public Schools from August 31, 2020 to June 24, 2021.
Records inviting students, faculty, and staff to affinity spaces hosted by District of Columbia Public Schools from August 31, 2020 to June 24, 2021.
Records, including policies and procedures, regarding the creation and use of “affinity spaces.”
Any analyses of whether affinity spaces excluding students, faculty, and staff who identify as a specific race or gender is consistent with district and federal law, including but not limited to 42 U.S.C. 2000d and the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The records include a DCPS September 2021 PowerPoint presentation titled “DCPS Affinity Group Interest Form” stating:
DCPS staff: The Equity Strategy and Programming Team initially launched affinity spaces as safe spaces for you to reflect and process following the murder of George Floyd, and we are going to continue them throughout the 21-22 school year as a place for folks to reflect and continue to learn and grow.
One way to process in a safe space is through affinity. Affinity spaces are gathering opportunities for people who share a common identity. This space will be organized based on the racial identities represented in Central Office as we aim to lean into the Courageous Conversation condition of isolating race.
For more information about the benefit of racial affinity groups, please leverage this Learning for Justice resource: https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/summer-2015/making-space
DCPS Central Office staff from the Equity, Community Action and SEL [Social and Emotional Learning] Teams will co-facilitate these affinity groups in collaboration with volunteers at least once a month but more frequently as requested by the group.
A form in the presentation asks respondents to submit their pronouns, which include she/her, she/they, he/him, he/they, they/them, ze/hir, she/he/they, or “other.”
DCPS staff is asked to select “Which racial affinity group(s) do you plan to join via Teams? (Select all that apply to you and your racial identities. A separate calendar/Teams invite will come from the DCPS Equity calendar.):”
Asian American Pacific Islander
Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx
Indigenous/Native American, Multi-Racial, White
I am not represented by any of these options and want to recommend another group.
The form adds: “As we define race, it can be easy to conflate race with ethnicity or nationality because the definition and boundaries are always changing. Use the US Census (https://www.census.gov/topics/population/race/about.html ) as a guide but do not let it limit you based on how you personally identify racially.
The form also asks if respondents are interested in new LGBTQIA+ “Affinity Spaces.” Those spaces are divided into “BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color) LGBTQIA+” and “White LGBTQIA+.”
A DCPS memo details events to be held in June 2021 and is titled “Proposed Engagement in Response to Recent Racial Incidents” begins: “These are troubling times. I imagine that we all are struggling to make sense of the murder of George Floyd and the continued racial violence and racism that people of color, but black people specifically, endure at the hands of the police, other systems and individuals.”
A table of proposed events in the memo includes an “Affinity Group Brown Bag” that is described as a “Moderated space for CO [Central Office] staff to reflect, connect, feel, share, strategize in smaller, affinity (Black, White, Latinx, Asian) space: Focus on self-awareness, identity and cultural awareness.”
An undated email from the DCPS Equity Team to AAPI Affinity (DCPS); Black Affinity (DCPS); Hispanic/Latinx Affinity (DCPS); Multi-Racial Affinity (DCPS); White Affinity (DCPS); and many individual DCPS members with the subject line “Cross-Racial Affinity Space (led by the Multi-Racial Affinity Group)” informs recipients that: “The Multi-Racial Affinity group is tentative to lead a cross-racial affinity space during the week of August 9th – August 13th”:
Cross-Racial Affinity Space Schedule
The current schedule for cross-racial dialogue is as follows (open to all affinity group members) to be led by respective affinity groups). Dates may change if conflicts arise for a majority of attendees:
* October: To be led by the Hispanic/Latino/Latinx affinity group
* December: To be led by the White affinity group
* February: To be led by the Black affinity group
* May: To be led by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) affinity group
* August: To be led by the Multi-Racial affinity group
A few guiding norms and goals for all affinity spaces:
- Go beyond celebration: Central Office (CO) affinity spaces will ensure that the conversation translates identity-related issues into action that helps mitigate those issues in our teams, offices and CO.
- Isolate Race: CO affinity spaces will leverage the Courageous Conversation protocol <http://iel.org/sites/default/files/G10-courageous-conversationprotocol-overview.pdf> [no longer available on the IEL website] – especially the norm of isolating race – in dialogue and collaboration.
- A lens for equity: As CO affinity spaces transition from conversation into action, spaces will ensure those actions are rooted in an equity lens that focuses on policy, identity and mindsets, practices and culture. The DCPS Equity Framework <https://dcps.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dcps/page_content/attachments/DCPS%20Equity%20Framework_2018.pdf> is a foundational resource for exploring goals and objectives through an equity lens.
- Create Cross-Racial Learning Opportunities: CO affinity spaces will come together in one space for interracial dialogue and learning led by a respective affinity group every other month.
A January 26, 2021, email from former DCPS Equity Strategy and Programming Team member Elizabeth Rene, who now works at Google, introduces to her then-colleagues what is called the “Anti-Racist Educator University,” which is touted as the first such endeavor “led by any school district.” The email states:
Many of you have engaged in conversations about race and equity with your students, families and colleagues. However, many more of you have asked how to translate those conversations into action.
Anti-Racist Educator University is an opportunity to proactively apply what we’ve learned about race and equity to our daily practice in the classroom as well as shifting policies, mindsets and culture.
Anti-Racist Educator University is a strategic lever that provides DCPS educators with shared learning rooted in a collective commitment to active anti-racism…
A June 16, 2021, email from Samuel Cuadro of DCPS to Principal Katie Lundgren and several colleagues states: “[T]hegoal of these affinity groups is to create a safe space among colleagues to process the impacts of racism and white supremacy within our school community and identify collective actions to take as individuals and as groups.”
These shocking documents show, in evident violation of the Constitution and civil rights laws, that the public school system of our nation’s capital pushed blatant racial segregation among its staff based on radical, divisive CRT principles.
Washington, DC is hardly alone.
We recently released records revealing critical race theory (CRT) instruction at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. One training slide contains a graphic titled “MODERN-DAY SLAVERY IN THE USA.”
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records we obtained in February 2022 included a PowerPoint presentation titled “Race and gender based microaggressions” that was used for training at the organization.
In June 2022, we appealed a federal court decision dismissing a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of David Flynn, a Massachusetts father who was fired from his position as high school football coach after he raised concerns over Black Lives Matter/critical race theory being taught in his daughter’s seventh-grade ancient history class
In January, we announced a FOIA lawsuit for all FBI records related to the October 4, 2021, memorandum issued by Attorney General Garland targeting parents who raised objections to Critical Race Theory in schools.
In November 2021, we announced that we received two sets of new records related to the teaching of critical race theory in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland’s largest school system. The new records include a training course with information about a book titled “Antiracist Baby” that introduces the youngest readers to “the concept and power of antiracism,” and says it’s the “perfect gift” for “ages baby to age 3.”
Records received from Loudoun County, VA, that we made public in October 2021, revealed a coordinated effort to advance critical race theory initiatives in Loudoun County public schools despite widespread public opposition.
Also in October 2021, we received a training document from a whistleblower in the Westerly School District of Rhode Island, which details how Westerly Public Schools are using teachers to push critical race theory in classrooms.
Records from Wellesley Public Schools in Massachusetts, that we released in June 2021, confirmed the use of “affinity spaces” that divide students and staff based on race as a priority and objective of the school district’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” plan. The school district also admitted that between September 1, 2020 and May 17, 2021, it created “five distinct” segregated spaces.
Judicial Watch Sues after New York City Fails to Clean Voter Rolls
We sued New York after it failed to clean voter rolls. Federal law requires local officials to make a reasonable effort to remove people who have moved or died from voting rolls.
New York City failed to follow this law for years, so we filed a federal lawsuit against New York State and New York City election officials for failing to remove potentially hundreds of thousands of ineligible voters from New York City voter registration.
Our lawsuit, filed under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), details how New York City removed only 22 names under the federal law over six years (Judicial Watch v Valentine et al. (No.1:22-cv-03952)).
The NVRA requires states to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove” from the official voter rolls “the names of ineligible voters” who have died or changed residence. Among other things, the law requires registrations to be cancelled when voters fail to respond to address confirmation notices and then fail to vote in the next two general federal elections. In 2018, the Supreme Court confirmed that such removals are mandatory (Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Inst. (138 S. Ct. 1833, 1841-42 (2018)).
Our lawsuit details that New York City’s “own recent data concedes that there were only 22 total” removals under this provision “during a six-year period, in a city of over 5.5 million voters. These are ludicrously small numbers of removals given the sizable populations of these counties.” The lawsuit elaborates:
For context, the estimated number of voting-age citizens changing residence, per year, during the five-year period from 2016 through 2020, in the five counties of New York City was:
about 194,000 in Kings County,
about 127,000 in Queens County,
about 190,000 in New York County,
about 82,000 in Bronx County, and
about 21,000 in Richmond County.
In all, “more than 600,000 voting-age citizens, per year, are estimated to have changed residence in New York City during the five-year period from 2016 through 2020.”
We note that “Yates County, one of the smallest counties in New York, with a current total registration of about 14,500 voters” made 1,251 removals under this NVRA provision during the same six-year period. “This is, literally, an exponentially greater number than the 22 NVRA Removals made during the same period in all of New York City.”
The lawsuit concludes that the “almost complete failure of Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, and Richmond Counties, over a period of at least six years, to remove voters” under a key provision of federal law “means that there are untold numbers of New York City registrations for voters who are ineligible to vote at their listed address because they have changed residence or are otherwise ineligible to vote.”
Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections, and New York City’s rolls are some of the dirtiest in the country. Elections officials in New York City have simply refused to clean the voter lists for years. We want cleaner elections, as the law requires, and we expect this lawsuit will cause New York to take the simple steps necessary to clean from its rolls the names of hundreds of thousands of voters who have moved away or died.
We are a national leader in voting integrity and voting rights. As part of this effort, we assembled a team of highly experienced voting rights attorneys who stopped discriminatory elections in Hawaii, and cleaned up voter rolls in California, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, among other achievements.
California settled an NVRA lawsuit with us and began the process of removing up to 1.6 million inactive names from Los Angeles County’s voter rolls. Kentucky also began a cleanup of hundreds of thousands of old registrations last year after it entered into a consent decree to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.
In February 2022, we settled a voter roll clean-up lawsuit against North Carolina and two of its counties after the North Carolina removed over 430,000 ineligible names from the voter rolls.
In March 2022, a Maryland court ruled in favor of our challenge to Maryland’s Democratic legislature “extreme” congressional redistricting gerrymander.
In May 2022, we sued Illinois on behalf of Congressman Mike Bost and two other registered Illinois voters to prevent state election officials from extending Election Day for 14 days beyond the date established by federal law.
$195 Million to ‘Redress the Legacy of Harm’ in Racist Transportation Infrastructure
You may be interested to know that highways can be racist, and the Biden administration will hand out millions to grant applicants seeking “equity and environmental justice” to fix or even dismantle them! Our Corruption Chronicles blog details this ideological crusade against transportation infrastructure.
In the Biden administration’s latest racial equity project, American taxpayers will spend $195 million to help connect minority communities that are cut off from economic opportunities by racist transportation infrastructure. The costly plan is known as Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) and it is part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) “Equity Strategy Goal to reduce inequities” across the nation’s transportation systems and the communities they effect. In its announcement, the DOT writes that “preference will be given to applications from economically disadvantaged communities, especially those with projects that are focused on equity and environmental justice, have strong community engagement and stewardship, and a commitment to shared prosperity and equitable development.” The language sounds like material found in a communist manifesto.
DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg justifies the investment by explaining that “transportation can connect us to jobs, services, and loved ones, but we ‘ve also seen countless cases around the country where a piece of infrastructure cuts off a neighborhood or a community because of how it was built.” RCP is the first-ever initiative funded by the federal government that is completely dedicated to unifying neighborhoods living with the impacts of infrastructure that divides them, Buttigieg adds. It will help reconnect communities that are cut off from economic opportunities by what the administration seems to claim is a racist transportation infrastructure. In fact, the lengthy grant announcement states that the multi-million-dollar community reconnection program “seeks to redress the legacy of harm caused by transportation infrastructure.” The “harm” includes barriers to opportunity, displacement, damage to the environment and public health, limited access and “other hardships,” according to the document.
In pursuit of redressing the legacy of harm, RCP “will support and engage economically disadvantaged communities to increase affordable, accessible, and multimodal access to daily destinations like jobs, healthcare, grocery stores, schools, places of worship, recreation, and park space,” the administration writes in the grant announcement. Thus, the new program will be implemented in line with a multitude of other federal initiatives launched by a 2021 Biden executive order to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government. Besides the DOT’s Equity Action Plan, the agency grant document identifies them as federal actions to address environmental justice in minority and low-income populations, affordable housing in the nation’s most desirable neighborhoods and a program to strengthen the economy through the creation of good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, strong labor standards, and workforce programs. There are many more that were left out of the RCP document.
In the last year, key federal agencies have implemented racial equity plans as per Biden’s order. The Department of Justice (DOJ) created a special initiative to advance equity for marginalized and underserved communities. The Department of Labor (DOL) dedicated $260 million to promote “equitable access” to government unemployment benefits by addressing disparities in the administration and delivery of money by race ethnicity and language proficiency. The Treasury Department named its first ever racial equity chief, a veteran La Raza official who spent a decade at the nation’s most influential open borders group. The Department of Defense (DOD) is using outrageous anti-bias materials that indoctrinate troops with anti-American and racially inflammatory training on diversity topics. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created an equity commission to address longstanding inequities in agriculture. The nation’s medical research agency has a special minority health and health disparities division that recently issued a study declaring COVID-19 exacerbated preexisting resentment against racial/ethnic minorities and marginalized communities. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently hired a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer even though most of its employees come from “underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.” Just a few days ago Judicial Watch reported that the administration is spending $6 million to advance racial equity in the government’s food-stamp program that already serves a large minority population.
Until next week …