Thank you to everyone who attended our June membership meeting Decoding Censorship. We had a great lineup of panelists, Terry Anderson, Gordon Danning, Jackie Farmer, and Betsy Gomez.
The Comics Code may be gone, but its specter remains. Recoding Censorship examined the changing state of censorship and what it means for comics today. How have challenges to comics in schools and libraries evolved in recent years? What can we all do to protect creative freedom and access to comics online? How will new laws aimed at limiting free expression affect the comics community?
Our event streamed the day after the Supreme Court decision on Mahanoy v. B.L., so schools and the challenges they face were fresh on the minds of everyone. Our discussion also covered private actors, such as social media companies, and how their policies can affect what we see and say, both in the United States and globally. The framing of censorship and the dangers of that framing became another point of discussion during the event.
The conversation also included:
- Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.
- schools as nurseries of democracy
- governments punishing cartoonists
- terms of service
- comfort versus harm
Catch more CBLDF programming and conversations at conventions this summer and fall. In July, CBLDF hosted Defending Comics Today with community members from Leander, Texas at Comic-Con@Home, and in August, we held ‘office hours’ at Teaching with Comics, a virtual conference hosted by Reading with Pictures.
CBLDF is here to support the comics community. If you need legal assistance or advice as an educator, retailer, artist, librarian, or fan, do not hesitate to reach out! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss out on our past membership meetings!
Featured Panelists for Decoding Censorship
Executive Director — Cartoonists Rights Network International
Terry Anderson is a professional cartoonist and caricaturist. For more than fifteen years he produced comics and illustrations for The Glasgow Herald and for two decades has been co-ordinator at the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio. In 2014 Terry organized an international cartoon exhibition on the Scottish independence referendum – The Auld Acquaintance – that was shown in six venues around Europe. The Scottish Cartoon Art Studio’s Fizzers® caricatures were the subject of a ten year retrospective exhibition at The People’s Palace & Winter Gardens, Glasgow in 2016/17. A former student of The Kubert School of cartooning, Terry is a member of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (UK), France-Cartoons and Cartoon Movement. He previously served on the executive committee and ultimately as President of the Scottish Artists Union, the trade union for all visual artists working in Scotland. He is frequently asked to broadcast, speak publicly and lead workshops on the subject of cartooning.
Consultant — Youth Free Expression Program, National Coalition Against Censorship
Gordon Danning has a background in both law and K-12 education. He obtained a JD from the University of California, Berkeley but decided not to practice law and instead taught Social Studies for many years at a public high school in Oakland, California. He has also worked for more than 25 years on an occasional basis doing research and writing for criminal defense attorneys who represent indigent defendants in Los Angeles County.
He relocated to New York in 2012 to pursue doctoral work in Political Science, and immediately before coming to NCAC he served as the History Research Fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where he was tasked with researching the connection, if any, between “hate speech” and political violence. He has published several academic and law review articles on issues relating to free speech, including Did Radio RTLM Really Contribute Meaningfully to the Rwandan Genocide? Using Qualitative Information to Improve Causal Inference From Measures of Media Availability; “It Ain’t So Much the Things We Don’t Know That Get Us in Trouble. It’s the Things We Know that Ain’t So”: The Dubious Intellectual Foundations of the Claim that “Hate Speech” Causes Political Violence; Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease? Censorship of Hate Speech May Well Increase Violence; and Freedom of Speech in Public Schools: Using Communications Analysis To Eliminate The Role of Educational Ideology.
Senior Program Officer, Targeted Advocacy — Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Jackie graduated in 2015 magna cum laude from Drexel University with B.S. degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies. She has been working at FIRE ever since participating in Drexel’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. At Drexel, she was the Event Coordinator for the campus’ Students Advocating for Feminism and Equality group. After graduation, she took a full-time position with FIRE as the Assistant to the Executive Director. Jackie’s interests in free speech stems from her love of political satire and previous involvement in student activism. When she is not thinking about the state of free speech on college campuses, you can find her preaching to others about how The Chris Gethard Show will revolutionize late night TV.
Coalition Director — Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Coordinator — Banned Books Week Coalition
Betsy Gomez is the Banned Books Week Coalition coordinator and former editorial director for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the First Amendment rights of the comics community. Gomez manages resources, programming, and editorial content for bannedbooksweek.org and advises CBLDF on educational and free expression matters. Gomez is the editor of CBLDF’s book about the women who changed free expression in comics, CBLDF Presents: She Changed Comics. With an extensive background in educational publishing, Gomez has worked as a content developer and editor for several companies, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson Education, among others. Gomez’s work combines her love of comics with her passion for education and the right to read.