[VIRTUAL] Banned Books Week: Defending the Freedom to Read
An online forum hosted by PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Program as part of our student-centered evening workshop series, Free Speech Live!
Each September, Banned Books Week celebrates open access to books in our schools, libraries, and communities. PEN America believes that we must defend our right to read as a fundamental liberty in this country and reject attempts to censor works on political, religious, or other grounds.
Join PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Program for this online forum featuring Gordon Danning, program associate for the Youth Free Expression Program at the National Coalition Against Censorship. The event will start with a brief presentation, facilitated Q&A session, and breakout conversations to discuss book banning in the United States. High school and college alumni of PEN America’s student programs and other students are welcome to join.
Gordon Danning is the program associate for the Youth Free Expression Program at the National Coalition Against Censorship. He has a background in both law and K-12 education. He obtained a JD from the University of California, Berkeley but decided not to practice law and instead taught social studies for many years at a public high school in Oakland, California. He has also worked for more than 25 years on an occasional basis doing research and writing for criminal defense attorneys who represent indigent defendants in Los Angeles County. He relocated to New York in 2012 to pursue doctoral work in political science, and immediately before coming to NCAC he served as the History Research Fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where he was tasked with researching the connection, if any, between hate speech and political violence.
Nicholas Perez is the program coordinator for campus free speech at PEN America. He supports PEN America’s advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion in higher education. Perez previously worked for the Columbia University Human Rights Advocates Program and consulted for the Human Rights Education and Training section at the United Nations. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University in human rights and humanitarian policy and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in international politics. He also was a Global Leadership Fellow at Waseda University in Japan, a Model United Nations advisor at Mira Costa High School, and a forensics researcher for the Yahad-in Unum Genocide Research Agency.