In the wake of reports that seven words have been banned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2019 budget documents, the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) confronted the Trump administration with the very terms they’ve tried to eradicate.
With the help of multimedia artist Robin Bell, the group projected the words “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “science-based,” “evidence-based,” “vulnerable,” and “entitlement” onto the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday evening.
The words “We will not be erased” also appeared on the building.
The action was accompanied by a statement on HRC’s Twitter account.
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The news that CDC officials were being urged not to use the seven words was met with an uproar over the weekend. The CDC has said that the avoidance of the terms is being encouraged only to help secure funding from conservative Republicans in Congress, but critics argue that the directive from the Health and Human Services Department signals the administration’s latest political interference with the work of scientists at the agency. Earlier this year, CDC employees were instructed not to speak to reporters, even to answer simple data-related questions.
“For CDC or any agency to be censored or passively made to feel they have to self-censor to avoid retribution—that’s dangerous and not acceptable,” said Vivek Murthy, a former Surgeon General, in an interview with the New York Times. “The purpose of science is to search for truth, and when science is censored the truth is censored.”
On Wednesday, the National LGBTQ Task Force planned to stage a protest at the Health and Human Services Department to denounce the decision to ban the words.