Activists grow nationwide in response to textbook bans | Entertainment News

File-Amanda Darrow, director of the Utah Pride Center’s Youth, Family and Education Program, poses in books such as Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, which was complained by Salt Lake City’s parents in December. .. 16, 2021. The wave of book bans across the country has reached a level that has not been seen for decades. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer, file)

New York (AP) — Until a year ago, Stephana Ferrell’s political activities were limited to occasional letters to elected civil servants.

Later, her local school board was held in Orange County, Florida, to challenge Maiakobabe’s graphic novel “Gender Queer: AMemoir.” And the county’s decision to remove it from the high school shelves last fall.

“By winter vacation, we had to realize that this was happening across the state and started a project to bring parents together to protect access to information and ideas at school,” said the two mothers. Ferrel says. Together with Orange County’s parent, Jen Cousins, he founded the Florida Freedom to Read Project. The project is working with existing parent groups throughout the state to address a variety of educational issues, including efforts to “keep or retrieve challenged or banned books.” .. “

Book Ban-Pushback

This cover image released by Oni Press shows Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer”. The wave of book bans across the country has reached a level not seen for decades. Officials in Orange County, Florida have decided to remove books from high school shelves, which was challenged by a local school board last fall.

In the past year, book challenges and bans have reached levels not seen in decades, according to the American Library Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), and other advocates of freedom of expression. Censorship efforts ranged from local communities, such as Orange County and the Tennessee Board of Education pulling Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel “Mouse,” to state-wide initiatives.

Book Ban-Pushback

Published by Pantheon, this cover image represents Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel “Mouse.” The Tennessee school district has decided to ban graphic novels about the Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust because of “inappropriate language” and illustrations of nude women.

“There are some pornographic and pediatric love books that should definitely be removed from K through the 12 school libraries,” says Yael Levin, a left-turn-banned spokeswoman in education. A school that asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the availability of “gender choir” among other books. “Now we’re not talking about public libraries or bookstores. We’re talking about books from K to 12 school libraries, pornography alone, about pediatric love.”

Dozens of bills have been proposed to limit reading and discussion in the classroom, according to PEN America, which tracks national law. Virtually all laws focus on sexuality, gender identity, or race. In Missouri, a bill bans teachers from using the “1619 Project.” This is the issue of The New York Times Magazine, which focuses on slavery in American history, and was released as a book last fall.

Book Ban-Pushback

This cover image released by One World shows “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story”. This is an extension of the 2019 New York Times Magazine publication, centered around the history of the country with a focus on slavery, and won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary on Nicole, the creator of the project. .. Hannah Jones.

Answers come from organizations of all sizes, some from individuals such as Ferrel.

The American Civil Liberties Union, PEN America, and NCAC have worked with local activists, educators, and families across the country to help “prepare meetings, draft letters, and mobilize opponents.” Nossel. Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, said he would personally donate $ 500,000 to a book defense fund run in partnership with PEN. The Hachette Book Group has announced an “urgent donation” to PEN, NCAC, and the Authors Guild.

Legal action is one strategy. In Missouri, ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court in mid-February, Wentzville school district removed books such as “Gender Queer,” Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” and Keise Laymon’s memoir “Heavy.” I tried not to. The Citizens’ Freedom Union also filed a request for public records over the ban on books in Tennessee and Montana, and a warning letter in Mississippi stating “the unconstitutionality of the ban on books in public libraries.”

Vera Eidelman, a staff lawyer at ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, quoted the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1982 ruling as saying, “The local school board dislikes the ideas contained in books. You cannot remove books from the shelves. ” The tricky area that Idelman admits is that school officials are allowed to ban books for reasons other than disapproving the perspectives they represent. For example, authorities may decide that the book is blasphemous or too vulgar.

“The problem is that our definitions of vulgarity and age suitability are often muddy, lacking better language, and can be hidden as an excuse for government-based decisions. You can even use it, “she says. she said.

Two bans and bans initiatives have been launched in Pennsylvania. In Kutztown, second-year middle school Joslyn Defenbo formed the banned club last fall, which began with reading George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” The Penridge Improvement Project is working to buy books that have been removed from school, such as Lesla Newman’s “Heather has Two Mommies” and Kim Johnson’s “This is My America,” and put them in a small free library in the district. have started.

The wave of bans has brought about a change in focus for new organizations and existing groups. Katie Paris, the founder of Red, Wine & Blue, a national network of politically involved PTA Moms and Digital Divas founded in 2019 in Ohio, said last year that “Critical Race Theory” It broke out.

Red, Wine & Blue have launched an online session called Troublemaker Training. This training includes “show a calm face to counter yells and screams” and “your freedom: you can decide what is right for your child, but what is right for other families. Red, Wine & Blue also launched a website to track the ban on books, raised about $ 65,000 to oppose the ban, and challenged book authors and books. We are holding an event in March featuring parents of the community.

“I think education is most effective when parents and teachers work together,” says Paris, the mother of boys aged 7 and 3. “And if you don’t want your child to have access to the book, opt out. That’s fine. You just don’t want to take that opportunity from your child.”

Attempting to restore a book is very similar to other types of community activities, such as writing letters, giving speeches, and attending meetings.

Meenal McNary is a member of the Round Rock Black Parents Association, located approximately 32 km from Austin, Texas. The association was founded in 2015 after a black teenager was slammed into the ground by police officers, but has recently been actively involved in curriculum diversification and book deletion efforts. is. Last year, due to parental opposition, Roundrock school district officials considered whether “Racism, Anti-racism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendy and Jason Reynolds should be removed from the middle school reading list.

“We worked with a junior high school teacher who started the petition, and it gained a lot of traction with over 1,000 signatures,” says McNally. The district followed a three-step review process and culminated in a board of education vote. Meanwhile, McNally and others organized people to write letters, attend board meetings, and talk to others about their petitions.

“Some children read trauma, but we asked them to speak in favor of this book,” says McNally. “From junior high school to grandma and grandfather, I asked everyone why they should keep this on the shelf. The board voted for us and the book is still there.”

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Activists grow nationwide in response to textbook bans | Entertainment News

Source link Activists grow nationwide in response to textbook bans | Entertainment News

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