SAN FRANCISCO — Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on Monday challenging the Trump administration’s recent executive order that prohibits federal contractors and grantees from conducting workplace diversity trainings or engaging in grant-funded work that acknowledges racism and sexism.
Lambda Legal said the order describes trainings that cover topics such as implicit bias or critical race theory as divisive and un-American, and directs agencies to suspend or deny funding to contractors and grantees whose trainings or grant-funded activities cover these topics.
“We are fighting three epidemics—COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and an epidemic of violence perpetrated against Black people by law enforcement,” said Camilla Taylor, Director of Constitutional Litigation, Lambda Legal. “Communities of color face shocking health disparities with respect to both COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS. Black and Brown people are more likely to get sick, and more likely to die as a result of systemic racism and sexism, structural inequities, and the role of explicit and implicit bias on the part of health care providers.”
he Executive Order, issued September 22, 2020, and later Trump administration guidance labels the discussion of intersectionality, critical race theory, white privilege, systemic racism, or implicit or unconscious bias in diversity training as “race and sex scapegoating” and forbids agencies from “promot[ing]” these “divisive concepts.” It directs agency heads to audit internal training curricula and discontinue these trainings, and to conduct a similar audit of federal contractors, putting those contracts at risk.
“Acknowledging the truth of our nation’s history — one in which slavery, segregation, and systemic racism are an inherent part — is not ‘un-American’: it’s simply telling the truth,” said Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings.
The organization filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of six organizational plaintiffs, a consulting company, and an individual plaintiff.
The organizational plaintiffs include: the Los Angeles LGBT Center; The Diversity Center in Santa Cruz, CA; AIDS Foundation of Chicago; CrescentCare in New Orleans, LA; Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA; and, SAGE based in New York City. The consultancy is B. Brown Consulting, a Michigan-based business with a federal contract to train correctional facility staff, governmental agencies, and nonprofits. The individual plaintiff is Dr. Ward Carpenter, co-director of Health Services at LA LGBT Center.
The lawsuit is The Diversity Center v. Trump: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/the-diversity-center-v-trump