I went to the school board meeting a couple of weeks ago and recited the Pledge of Allegiance with members of my community. This morning, I woke up with this phrase on my mind: “and liberty and justice for all.”

This week, I expect my governor will sign into law Senate Bill 3. This law is intended to stop teachers from using Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the public schools. It limits what teachers can and cannot teach and discuss in the classroom concerning systemic racism.

Critical race theory is a framework designed to help identify and understand how racism plays a part in our society. Teaching CRT is not an attempt to indoctrinate our children. CRT is an educational tool that helps all of us understand how racism impacts who we are as a country.

People of all ages need to learn the accurate story of our country’s history, including racial justice and injustice. Critical race theory is not something to be feared. It is just one of many tools we have to lead us toward becoming a country where liberty and justice is for all the people. Studying our history with a lens on justice and giving a voice and presence to all racial groups is the road to true freedom. I think learning a more complete history will liberate us to live into a future of hope.

Texas doesn’t need a law that prevents our schoolchildren from fully understanding the impact of racism in our country. In a society seeking “liberty and justice for all,” we need to “lean in” to learning about the history of all the people in the United States, not just the white perspective.

We don’t need to be anxious about change that comes when we expand our understanding of history. Change, for justice’s sake, is freedom-giving and life-changing for all. Change is hard, but change to end the sin of racism is worth the discomfort that may make us feel like the whole world is changing around us. The truth is the world is always changing around us, so let’s lean in together to move toward a more just society, one that lives up to the phrase “liberty and justice for all.”

CYNTHIA RIVES, of Denton, is a member of United Methodist Women.

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