ST. LOUIS — A group of parents, teachers and students rallied for equity in education Saturday in downtown St. Louis.
Chants such as, "Let them learn," and, "We want equity," could be heard downtown as a group marched from 10th and Market streets to Kiener Plaza, where they were met by a number of education groups, advocacy organizations and vendors.
The March for Education and Equity Fair was put on by In Purpose Educational Services and the Missouri Equity Education Partnership came after more states have filed legislation to ban certain topics from school like race and sex, and certain groups from participating in activities.
"In a 21st century multi-cultural world, our students should be culturally aware of the world around them," said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones.
Carrie Sak was there for their daughter's future.
"We want her to be exposed to a well-rounded education with exposure to all different viewpoints and diversity," said Carrie.
Her husband, R. K., was there to learn as a parent and part-time educator at Washington University in St. Louis.
"The ability to hear ideas that I don't agree with and understand is ultimately a benefit, so the chance that may not happen is ultimately to the detriment of educational outcomes," he said.
State Rep. Ian Mackey, who has been steadily passionate about justice in the schools and particularly vocal about anti-transgender legislation, made clear that curriculums should not be mandated by state statue.
With two weeks of the legislature left, Mackey, a Democrat who represents parts of St. Louis County, applauded the work done by people who are part of the partnership and their affiliates to stop anti-transgender legislation from advancing.
"They don't need books banned. They don't need to be told what they can and cannot teach. They need to be able to do their jobs. The parents at the local level can decide what's going on in their classroom and take action," he said.
Critical race theory over civil discourse was key in Tommy Hogan's household.
"I think that more people should also be educated on the topic and doing research and learn more about this issue,” said Hogan, a college student.
"(Students) are the ones getting the information. They are taking that information and translating it out in the world, so we want them to have a say in how they learn,” added Tamar Brown, Hogan’s mom.
The equity march and fair followed other efforts from the group including lobby days and other events to get their message out.