a library cart with books labeled as banned
Several local educators will convene Oct. 6 to discuss the rise of book banning and censorship in America at the downtown branch of the Santa Cruz County Library.
(Via Creative Commons)
Civic Life

Panel aims to explore censorship, American-style

With book bans having been enacted in 37 U.S. states — the vast majority of them having to do with the lives of people of color and LGBTQ+ people — a group including educators and advocates will convene Oct. 6 at the downtown Santa Cruz public library to attempt to address the rising threat.

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Banning books is about as un-American as you can get, right? We don’t do that kind of thing here, right? Our First Amendment tradition would never tolerate book bans, right?

Eh, not necessarily. This most crude form of censorship is on the rise in the U.S. as local and state jurisdictions across the country have attempted to ban books some find objectionable, including such great literary treasures as Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner,” Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” and many others. Such bans have occurred in 37 states, most commonly in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri and Utah, the vast majority of them having to do with the lives of people of color and LGBTQ+ people.

I have the privilege of moderating an upcoming event on an important and increasingly relevant topic: the banning of books. On Friday afternoon, Oct. 6, a panel of local educators will address the growing threat of banned books and censorship on the rise in U.S. schools and libraries.

The panel will include: the superintendent of the county’s Office of Education, Faris Sabbah, Harbor High School librarian Angela Gates, UC Santa Cruz associate dean Cynthia Lewis and facilitator of the Diversity Center Youth Program Zak Keith.

The event, which takes place at the downtown branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library, is co-sponsored by Santa Cruz Public Libraries, the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz, the County Office of Education and UC Santa Cruz. The event is free, but please register.

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