ProPublica reporter Nicole Carr, right, interviews Cecelia Lewis in Maryland.
Nicole Carr, a reporter for ProPublica’s South unit, writes about securing the central interview for her powerful story: White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
Cecelia Lewis did not want to share her story.
In fact, she just wanted all of this to go away.
Late last year, I was on the phone with a former colleague, talking about the local coverage of campaigns against critical race theory across metro Atlanta. CRT maintains that racial bias is embedded in America’s laws and institutions and has caused disproportionate harm to people of color; it’s rarely taught in K-12 public school systems but has still become a lightning rod in districts around the country — and a catalyst for conservative political candidates seeking to fire up their base.
He mentioned that a woman had quit her job in the Cherokee County School District before she had started and wondered what had happened to her.
We talked about a lengthy statement she’d written for the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News, explaining her decision to resign. The letter was published a week and a half after an ugly scene at a school board meeting during which parents railed against the hiring of Lewis (a Maryland middle school principal), as well as diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (which Lewis had been brought on to helm) and CRT (a formerly arcane, currently politicized concept that Lewis hadn’t even heard of). I later learned people who had gathered outside the building where the meeting was he
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