GLAAD joins over 600 groups and individuals in a powerful statement of support against efforts to ban LGBTQ-inclusive books and books about race and racism.
The statement, created by the National Coalition Against Censorship, is the first national and collective response to the wave of attempted book bans in at least a dozen states. Opponents to the books have also targeted library and school board personnel with personal threats and attempts to co-opt law enforcement to pursue baseless criminal charges against educators and librarians.
You can read the statement and see the list of signatories at: www.glaad.org/blog/booksnotbans-glaad-joins-400-organizations-and-individuals-stand-against-school-censorship .
GLAAD and more than 600 groups and individuals representing writers, educators, artists, racial and social justice advocates, booksellers and publishers have signed onto the statement. GLAAD is also coordinating a social media campaign that launches today, #BooksNotBans, and providing a media guide for reporters to accurately report on the efforts to ban books and their illegality, as well as background on the national anti-LGBTQ groups coordinating and funding these actions.
The National Coalition Against Censorship, made up of 57 nonprofit literary, artistic and educational organizations, has been responding to repeated instances of attempted censorship in towns and school boards around the country. This is the first national and collective effort to speak out against targeting books for marginalized students and the personal attacks against library staff and school boards.
Those leading efforts to ban LGBTQ-inclusive books have long histories of advocating against LGBTQ people and racial equality.
Excerpt from the National Coalition Against Censorship Statement:
"The undersigned organizations and individuals are deeply concerned about this sudden rise in censorship and its impact on education, the rights of students, and freedom of expression…The law clearly prohibits the kind of activities we are seeing today: censoring school libraries, removing booksand entire reading listsbased on disagreement with viewpoint and without any review of their educational or literary merit. Some would-be censors have gone even farther, threatening teachers, school librarians, authors, and school board members with criminal charges and even violence for allowing students access to books…It is freedom of expression that ensures that we can meet the challenges of a changing world. That freedom is critical for the students who will lead America in the years ahead. We must fight to defend it."
Statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:
"Every LGBTQ young person needs to see themselves in stories about their lives, to let them know they belong just as they are. Every American needs stories about LGBTQ people, Black people, queer people of color and all marginalized groups to better understand each other's experiences. Books nurture more compassionate human beings and a more successful society, where all are welcome to participate. School boards and libraries must follow established protocol to ensure access to books, and to represent and serve LGBTQ youth. All leaders must speak up against hostile rhetoric and behavior targeting vulnerable young people and books about their lives, and prioritize protecting them and safe spaces for all to learn."
The American Library Association releases November 29th statement in support of personnel and procedures for challenged books, citing 155 challenges just since June: "Falsely claiming that these works are subversive, immoral, or worse, these groups induce elected and non-elected officials to abandon constitutional principles, ignore the rule of law, and disregard individual rights to promote government censorship of library collections. Some of these groups even resort to intimidation and threats to achieve their ends, targeting the safety and livelihoods of library workers, educators, and board members who have dedicated themselves to public service, informing our communities, and educating our youth."
Texas lawmaker creates list of 850 targeted books, two-thirds of which are LGBTQ-related
Gallup population data shows more young people are identifying as LGBTQ than any previous generation, including one in six Americans of Generation Z (ages 18-23)
GLAAD's recent Accelerating Acceptance Report shows increasing numbers of Americans recognize that there are more than two genders
PRRI polls show majorities of Americans of all races, faiths and political parties support laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination
Nine states have passed laws restricting teachers from including accurate information in schools related to race, sex, gender, and LGBTQ people.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
About the National Coalition Against Censorship:
We promote freedom of thought and inquiry and oppose censorship. When controversy occurs, we encourage and facilitate dialogue between divergent voices and perspectives, including those that have historically been silenced. As an alliance of more than 50 national non-profits, including literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and civil liberties groups, we have engaged in direct advocacy and education to support First Amendment principles for over 40 years.