In a powerful move against the increasing trend of book bans in the United States, more than 175 prominent figures from the entertainment, literary, advocacy, and media sectors have collaborated to write an open letter. Organized by LeVar Burton, host of Reading Rainbow, and the public advocacy group MoveOn Political Action, the letter is a call to action for the creative communities to unite against censorship.
Key Points from the Open Letter:
Local Action Against Book Bans: The letter emphasizes the need to address book bans at a local level, especially within American school districts. It denounces book bans as “restrictive behavior” that contradicts the values of free speech and expression.
Chilling Effect on Creativity: The letter highlights the potential “chilling effect” that book bans may have on the wider creative community, emphasizing the negative impact on artistic freedom.
Potential Impact on Other Arts: Concerns are raised about the possibility of book bans influencing other forms of entertainment and art, affecting storytelling in multiple mediums. The letter draws attention to the potential harm to disadvantaged communities, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals, whose stories might be misrepresented or excluded.
Solidarity Against Arbitrary Restrictions: The undersigned pledge to fight against arbitrary restrictions on artistic expression and stress the importance of solidarity within the artistic community. Any attack on the arts is considered a threat to the entire creative community.
- Ariana Grande
- Guillermo del Toro
- Padma Lakshmi
- Ron Perlman
- Jazz Jennings
- Gabrielle Union
- Padma Lakshmi
- Jodi Picoult
- Sandra Cisneros
- Emma Roberts
- Karah Preiss
Voices Against Book Bans:
- Jazz Jennings: The author and LGBTQ+ rights champion stresses the importance of speaking out against book bans to protect free speech, promote inclusivity, and advance education.
- Gabrielle Union: The actress and producer urges action against book bans, emphasizing that they feed intolerance and fear. She highlights the importance of recognizing diversity and ensuring access to materials that explore the richness of the world.
- Padma Lakshmi: Advocates for librarians, not politicians, to make judgments on books in school libraries.
- Jodi Picoult and Sandra Cisneros: Award-winning authors support the movement against censorship, emphasizing the negative impact on children’s readers and society as a whole.
- Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss, co-founders of the online reading community Belletrist, argue that prohibiting books deprives children of important opportunities for personal development.
The publication of the open letter coincides with National Banned Books Month and is accompanied by a MoveOn public petition, connecting signatories with future opportunities to campaign against book bans.