5 Ways To Take Action Against Educational Censorship

This month, we have continued to see increased efforts to suppress educational freedom and ban certain books. Legislation has been proposed in over 44 states to limit what educators can say and teach about homophobia, transphobia, and racism. Right-wing organizations such as Moms for Liberty (a group responsible for 58% of advocacy-led proposed bans) are currently targeting over 200 books in schools, focused primarily on those about LGBTQ+ and BIPOC characters, often by Black, Indigenous, authors of color and LGBTQ+ writers.

It is easy to feel hopeless amidst all of these injustices and unsure about what we can do as individuals to combat this. That’s why we’re sharing 5 actions you can take to stand up for educational freedom and honest, inclusive history.

1. Buy Books for an Educator

Many educators want to teach truth but don’t have access to materials representing diverse narratives and experiences. Support projects like VOW’s Sharing History Initiative, which donates classroom sets of our books illuminating injustice. This year, we are focused on providing for educators in areas facing censorship. If you know educators personally, send them our Sharing History Initiative application.

2. Write to Your Representatives

Contact your representative and ask them what they are doing to enact protective legislation, raise awareness, and push back against censorship bills. You can find the contact information for your federal, state, and local representatives here. Visit Book Riot or the National Coalition Against Censorship for sample language.

3. Start a Local Book Club

Create a book club with friends, family, or community members and highlight stories from queer and BIPOC authors. You can find a list of the most commonly banned books here. Voice of Witness books feature a variety of first-hand accounts on topics that are facing censorship such as racial injustice, migration, displacement, and the carceral system. If you need help getting started, you can find our book club guide here.

4. Participate in the Teach Truth Day of Action or Banned Books Week

Use your voice to protest and bring attention to censorship. Voice of Witness is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Teach Truth Day of Action on June 10th. Organizing an event for the day of action can be as simple as gathering some colleagues, friends, and family online or at a historic site. For more information about existing events, visit the campaign website. Or, participate in Banned Books Week during October 1-7; find events and resources to advocate against book bans here.

5. Donate to Voice of Witness

Oral history projects defy censorship by directly uplifting and centering silenced voices. Our book series features stories exploring the injustices that we must collectively learn from to create a better future. Our education program shares these important topics with students and empowers them to tell their own stories. VOW’s critical work is supported by our incredible donors. Please consider making a donation today!

Thank you for standing up against censorship and supporting justice-based education.

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