NAACP Legal Defense Fund, other civil rights groups sue over Trump order banning diversity training

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The NAACP Legal Defense Fund along with a pair of other national civil rights organizations has sued President Trump over his executive order at the end of September which banned federal agencies, contractors and grant recipients from conducting diversity training which he has deemed “anti-American.”

The complaint — filed with the federal court in Washington, D.C. — was brought forth Thursday by the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance. 

In the filings, the groups argue that Trump’s order violates freedom of speech while inhibiting progress in the fight against systemic racism and gender discrimination in the workplace.

The order strikes at the heart of those critical efforts by government and nongovernment actors — including trainings and other forms of private speech in the workplace — to eradicate race and sex stereotyping and “other continuing manifestations of entrenched discrimination and bias against people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals,” the lawsuit reads.

Trump in his order said that the affected entities “should, of course, continue to foster environments devoid of hostility grounded in race, sex, and other federally protected characteristics,” but that many of the trainings being conducted are “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country.”

Trump is referring to critical race theory, which states that racism has always been and continues to be inherently imbued within the institutions of America. Trump has previously denied the existence of systemic racism in the country.

Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel for the Legal Defense Fund, said that Trump’s directive erases “the lived experiences of people and communities.”

“This administration has gone even further this time by attempting to completely rewrite centuries of the country’s history and dishonoring the memories of those who have been involved in the ongoing struggle for racial and gender equality and the perfection of our democracy,” Nelson said in a statement. “It operates as an effective ban on truth and an assault on equality in the workplace.”

Other critics of Trump have pointed to his executive order as yet another example of Trump’s often  incendiary rhetoric regarding race relations in the U.S. 

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Updated at 4:10 p.m.

Tags diversity training ban Donald Trump NAACP Legal Defense Fund NAACP Legal Defense Fund National Fair Housing Alliance National Fair Housing Alliance National Urban League National Urban League trump executive order

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