American Library Association released a video detailing their annual top ten list of most frequently challenged books.
The video starts off with instances of censorship like an illustration of “To Kill a Mockingbird” scrawled on a chalkboard, paired with the narrator saying “imagine having a challenging discussion about a book in your English class then being told to stop because your school’s administration decided you shouldn’t be exposed to an offensive slur.” But before they get into their list of top ten most targeted texts, the ALA gives a call to action for people of all ages.
We can fight back against censorship.
Across the country students, librarians, and engaged citizens have been organizing to protect our right to read. That can mean circulating petitions on social media, piling into board meetings and demanding change, hosting discussions, or even just speaking out and recording censorship when you see it happening.
Banning books silences stories and discussion. Often the most frequently challenged books, are the stories that need to be heard the most.
Censorship, and the need for warriors in the fight against it, isn’t new information for CBLDF or any of the fund’s ardent supporters. But it is an important reminder that silence breeds censorship, and speaking up is a necessary part of the path freedom. No matter what someone is fighting for, the video lists activities that can spark real change.
In a similar call to support activism, this week Comic Book Legal Defense Fund‘s Executive Director Charles Brownstein is hosting a panel discussion about First Amendment rights, students, and organized dissent with the award-winning graphic memoir MARCH at the center of the interchange. Panelists include Abena Hutchful, the coordinator of National Coalition Against Censorship’s Youth Free Expression Project and Kids’ Right to Read Project, Jonathan W. Gray, Associate Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the author of Civil Rights in the White Literary Imagination: Innocence by Association, and Kai Texel, the cartoonist of Be Heard! Protecting Your Protest Rights. The talk is aimed at people of all ages interested in activism and personal freedom. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door and special discounts are available.
Watch the full ALA video below. For more details on the Top Ten and the ways CBLDF has fought to keep those titles on shelves and in classrooms, check out our breakdown of the 2017 list.