State Farm Insurance Company is canceling a planned program to distribute LGBTQ-themed books after an internal email was leaked. Outrage ensued as to why an insurance company would even contemplate getting involved with the sexuality of young children.
The email, written by Jose Soto, State Farm’s Corporate Responsibility Analyst, was leaked by a whistleblower and obtained by Consumers’ Research. The email stated that State Farm was recruiting six agents in Florida “that would be interested in participating in this unique project, by receiving these books in March, then donating them to their community by the end of April.”
“These books” referred to LGBTQ-themed books to be distributed to teachers, community centers and libraries. “The project’s goal is to increase representation of LGBTQ+ books and support out communities in having challenging, important and empowering conversations with children Age 5+,” wrote Soto, to all Florida agents.
“Along with donating the books, we would encourage the agent to highlight our commitment to diversity on their social media pages,” Soto adds. State Farm is working with The GenderCool Project in which “Nationwide, approximately 550 State Farm agents and employees will have the opportunity to donate this 3 book bundle to their local teacher, community center or library of their choice,” the email added, also saying that the effort will extend beyond Florida.
The three-book bundle is part of the GenderCool Collection. In the book Non-Binary, a character named Gia is introduced to young readers as a transgender girl who uses she/her pronouns. “When you’re born, a doctor looks at you and says, ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ based on your body. But gender isn’t that simple. You see, when I was born, the doctor said, ‘It’s a boy!’ But…this wasn’t true,” Gia narrates.
“Gender is how you feel in your heart and mind, but it may not match what the doctor says when you are born,” it reads.
National Review reports:
The GenderCool Project is “a youth-led movement bringing positive change to the world,” according to the website. The organization highlights youth spokespeople who either identify as transgender or don’t conform to gender norms, called the “Champions,” who “are helping replace misinformed opinions with positive experiences meeting transgender and non-binary youth who are thriving.”
Beyond State Farm, GenderCool lists other major American companies as its partners and supporters, including Dell, Intuit, Nike, NBC Universal, Adobe, General Mills, Capital One, Intel, Indeed, HP, VmWare, Bank of America, Bayer, Out & Equal, Sprout Social, Prudential, CBRE, Oracle, USDA, Abbvie, JLL, and All State.
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Department of Education Office of Civil Rights opens investigation into Harvard University
On Tuesday the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights opened an investigation into Harvard University in order to determine if the school has fulfilled legal obligation to respond to the increase in antisemitic incidents after Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel on October 7th.
The university agreed to cooperate with the investigation in a statement issued Wednesday. “We support the work of the Office for Civil Rights to ensure students’ rights to access educational programs are safeguarded and will work with the office to address their questions,” the statement read.
The DOE has also opened investigations into Columbia University, Cornell University, Wellesley College, and the University of Pennsylvania this month over “discrimination involving shared ancestry” under Title VI.
the investigation was prompted after a complaint which stated Harvard “discriminated against students on the basis of their national origin (shared Jewish ancestry and/or Israeli) when it failed to respond appropriately to reports of incidents of harassment,”
National Review reports that while the Office of Civil Rights does not typically disclose which specific complaints prompted an investigation, there have been several high-profile incidents of antisemitism at Harvard and other Ivy league universities in recent weeks.
Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman sent an open letter to Harvard president Claudine Gay earlier this month which cited the confrontation at the “die-in” and urged her to take action to protect Jewish students.
“Jewish students are being bullied, physically intimidated, spat on, and in several widely-disseminated videos of one such incident, physically assaulted,” Mr. Ackman wrote. “On-campus protesters on the Widener Library steps and elsewhere shout, ‘Intifada! Intifada! Intifada! From the River to the Sea, Palestine Shall be Free!’”
Harvard President Claudine Gay released a statement about “combatting antisemitism” on November 9:
“I affirm our commitment to protecting all members of our community from harassment and marginalization, and our commitment to meeting antisemitism head-on, with the determination it demands,” Gay said. “Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”
Among the antisemitic events that have circulated national news are how just days after the Hamas attack, a 19-year-old Columbia student was arrested for allegedly assaulting an Israeli student who was trying to prevent the suspect from tearing down posters of Israeli hostages. Also at Cornell, a 21-year-old student was arrested for allegedly threatening to murder and rape his Jewish classmates on an anonymous online message board.
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