The State Department will spend $750,000 on projects that promote free expression for marginalized groups in the U.S. and other countries.
The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor will fund “projects that have the goal to promote and protect Freedom of Expression for vulnerable or marginalized populations,” according to the grant description. “The focus should include women and girls in all their diversity; LGBTQI+ persons, transgender or gender-diverse persons in particular; migrants; members of marginalized racial, ethnic, and Indigenous communities, religious minority group members; and others targeted by anti-rights actors.”
Specifically, the State Department would like to see objectives like, “addressing targeted attacks on Freedom of Expression from anti-rights, authoritarian-aligned actors, including so-called ‘anti-gender’ initiatives.”
There are multiple problems with this grant. First, objectives steeped in intersectionality and fighting “anti-gender initiatives” would be controversial here in the U.S., but thanks to the broad leeway given to executive agencies, the government officially endorses and funds them abroad through grants like this.
Additionally, it’s difficult to understand exactly what type of project the State Department is expecting, and the grant provides little explanation or examples of what exactly this project will look like.
And of course, the hefty price tag of $750,000 is absurd for such an unspecific and non-critical grant. The goals of promoting free expression may be laudable, but they also almost assuredly could be accomplished with an investment half this size.
With more than $31 trillion in debt, it’s irresponsible to spend close to a million dollars on such a frivolous and controversial project.
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