Photo of large group of protesters.

Fight Educational Censorship: Join Second Annual Freedom to Learn National Day of Action

This blog post is from the African American Policy Forum, a Unite Against Book Bans partner.

Toni Morrison. Amanda Gorman. Ruby Bridges. A conservative minority faction is seeking to purge our schools and libraries of works by our most celebrated authors, talented poets, and beloved civil rights heroes. As the American Library Association reported earlier this month, public libraries reported a 92 percent increase in the number of titles targeted for censorship in 2023 compared to 2022. Books by or about Black and LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately targeted and represent nearly half the books challenged.

Book bans do not appear out of thin air. They are rooted in educational censorship laws seeking to prohibit thoughtful conversations about structural racism and other forms of discrimination from occurring in the classroom. These laws are part of a larger coordinated backlash to the 2020 Racial Reckoning that ushered in the largest protests for racial justice in U.S. history. Alarmed by the breadth and depth of the public demand to dismantle institutionalized racism, conservative think tanks and political operatives instead devised a 50-state campaign to weaponize “Critical Race Theory” in the hopes that the miseducation of the next generation might prevent any future reckonings.

But we will not go back. And we are the majority. An overwhelming 71% of Americans reject book bans currently raging across the country. In this 70th anniversary year of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, we embrace its mandate that segregated bodies and knowledge have no place in our classrooms and public libraries. A truly multiracial democracy cannot allow nearly half our states to segregate books by and about Black and LGBTQ+ people from public school students.

That’s why this spring, the Freedom to Learn (F2L) network and Right to Learn (R2L) coalition are hosting the second annual National Day of Action on May 3rd. This national activation will serve as an on-ramp to a Freedom Summer that will take us through the critical election season. Our big tent includes legacy civil rights organizations, cutting-edge racial and social justice groups, human rights organizations, free expression groups, educator and parent advocates, students, and teachers’ unions. We welcome organizations and individuals from all walks of life committed to the freedom to learn. We will offer “Road to May 3rd Homerooms” every Thursday in April at 8pm ET starting April 4th. We hope to see you there and on May 3rd to protect our freedom to learn!

The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) is a social justice think tank that utilizes new ideas and innovative perspectives to transform public discourse and policy on race and social justice concerns. Register here for the Freedom to Learn “Road to May 3rd Homerooms” for the National Day of Action on May 3rd and email us to receive more information about getting involved on this important day.