Graphic of a ballot box over a silhouette of the United States

We Condemn Threats to the Freedom to Read.

This blog post is co-authored by Heather Malveaux, #TruthBeTold Campaign Manager at the African American Policy Forum; Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom; and Heather Fleming, Founder, MO Equity Education Partnership – all Unite Against Book Bans partners.

Do you believe that the freedom to read and learn is essential to a functioning democracy? Are you a freedom to read voter?

Throughout the past 3 years, we have witnessed a coordinated and well-funded campaign to strip us of the right to choose what we read and whose voices we have access to hear. This election year, we have an opportunity to push back on book banners at the ballot box. Unite Against Book Bans is asking all freedom to read voters to take our voter pledge to be an informed, registered, and ready voter in 2024. We are launching this call to action in conjunction with the African American Policy Forum (AAPF)’s Freedom to Learn National Day of Action on May 3rd.

Signing and sharing the pledge is not just a way to show your support – the pledge is just the start of a voter engagement effort that will build through the election. Signing up today means that we will continually update you on how this effort develops, and you will receive access to other opportunities to engage your community of freedom to read voters!

One opportunity to engage is through the American Library Association (ALA)’s Reader. Voter. Ready. campaign, which seeks to make all avid readers into avid voters this year by providing easy-to-use voting resources. You will be able to register to vote and engage your community through trusted non-partisan tools. Through Unite’s pledge, you will also be able to opt in to be Reader. Voter. Ready.

We are also proud to uplift today’s Day of Action from the AAPF and the Freedom to Learn Network. AAPF’s Freedom to Learn Day of Action is a nationwide mobilization in defense of racial justice, education, and democracy. You can visit their website to check out their May 3rd activation guide and other resources and toolkits.

AAPF’s May 3rd Day of Action is just the beginning of their Freedom Summer 2024. We look forward to partnering to promote these events, based on our shared convictions that young people of all identities deserve to see themselves reflected in books. Particularly for LGBTQ+ and POC young people, libraries, schools, and other educational institutions provide a golden window to understanding the world and themselves.

The well-funded political forces seeking to restrict access to materials are no match for us – if we are united! This summer, we will have many opportunities to work across different organizations and coalitions to show a united front at the ballot box this November.

Thanks to all of the advocates who are engaging in this work. Together, we can make a difference in this election year, expand access to information, and strengthen our democracy.