Since former-President Trump’s September 2020 executive order to eliminate “divisive concepts in schools and federally-funded entities,” dozens of states have pursued legislation to prohibit discussions of race and racism, as well as gender and sexuality in educational spaces. Censorship and book-banning are on the rise across schools and community libraries, linked to a growing mobilization of those who call themselves parents’ rights groups, aiming to exert greater control over how discussions of power and privilege unfold in their children’s lives. These efforts often conflate Critical Race Theory (CRT) with race-conscious and anti-racist philosophies, projecting white discomfort onto young learners’ opportunities to learn about and engage with legacies of “hard history.”

For this Spark Magazine series, we invite submissions by authors from different disciplinary perspectives whose work offers insight into the strategies and impact of efforts to prevent discussions of race and racism in public spheres. This includes, but is not limited to, scholarship and practice that interface with anti-CRT policies in K–12 environments and higher education institutions; analysis of the anti-CRT rhetoric/representation; and the implications of such policies for public discourse, democratic practices, and communities. We also invite personal reflections of educational practice and popular mobilizations to #teachtruth.  

Pitches for essays (and potentially multimodal formats such as video and photos to accompany the essays) might:

  • Explore the range of legislative efforts underway across states, including historical and socio-political contexts of their creation, from the conception to the execution of these legislations by right-wing movements.
  • Consider the effects such legislation has had or can have on educational discourse and practice.
  • Discuss and offer examples of reflective practice and resistance to censorship across a range of actors, including educators, parents, librarians, students, and community members.
  • Disentangle critical race theory origins and tenets from “anti-CRT” efforts, contextualizing the current moment in the history of political struggles that have played out in educational settings.
  • Discuss how the public and legislative debate is framed, in terms of rhetoric, discourse and/or representation of anti-race, anti-CRT, anti-“woke,” anti-social justice efforts.
  • Offer insight on what marginalized communities can do to continue doing the necessary work of engaging in conversations and movements about identity, society, and power.
  • Consider how similar efforts to shut down conversations about identity and diversity have played out in non-US contexts.

Please keep in mind that the audience for the Spark Magazine is not specific to any discipline or education level. Envision the reader as someone with a broad understanding of research and scholarship, but without specific knowledge of your field. Pitches will be reviewed by considering public accessibility, grounding in diversity scholarship, and clear writing organization and style.



Authors must have previously produced scholarship or creative work directly related to the topic to ground the proposed essay. Priority selection will be given to members of the Diversity Scholars Network and those who co-author with graduate students. Invited contributors will receive writing guidelines to submit a first draft within 4–6 weeks of being accepted and will be assigned an editor.

The series will be curated by Dr. Michelle Bellino, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Michigan and Dr. Manoucheka Celeste, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago.

If you have any questions about the Pop-Up Writing Opportunity and submission process, please contact managing editor, Laura Sanchez-Parkinson at