Ten of the 17 members of New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) diversity and inclusion council have resigned in protest, after the governor signed a new law that restricts how public school teachers and other government employees can talk about racism.
“It should not be taken lightly that nearly every member of the Council that is not part of your administration is resigning today, as we collectively see no path forward with this legislation in place,” the resigning members wrote in their letter to Sununu. The group includes the executive director of the New Hampshire ACLU, educators, doctors and children’s advocates.
State Rep. Jim Maggiore (D) told HuffPost that he voted against the bill because he “could not in good conscience support language restricting the free speech of Granite Staters.” He was one of the 10 council members who quit Tuesday.
Sununu responded to the news by saying that the council had been going through a “transition” anyway after the death of the former chairman, Rogers Johnson, in 2020. Johnson had been president of the Seacoast chapter of the NAACP.
Devon Chaffee, the executive director of the ACLU of New Hampshire ― who resigned from the council ― said she and her organization did not instigate the mass resignation; they were brought into the process later. She also noted that they did not reach out to the state employees on the council, since it would be unfair to put pressure on them to resign.
“Part of the real danger of this bill ― and it may very well be the point of it ― is to cause people to censor themselves in having these important conversations about race because they fear facing a lawsuit,” Chaffee told HuffPost. “What this bill does is it allows individuals in communities to file legal complaints against their local school, or it allows a disgruntled employee who doesn’t want to do an equity training to file a complaint against their employer. It potentially subjects teachers to discipline.”
“That creates an environment of fear ― and we’re already seeing this ― where teachers do not know what they can talk about and what they can’t talk about in the classrooms, and where government employers do not know what they can require their employees to learn and engage in and what they can’t,” she added.
This content was originally published here.