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How to Fight Book Bans: A Member-Exclusive Briefing

Calling all members of PEN America!

By now, there’s no question that books are under profound attack in the United States. Books by authors of color, by LGBTQ+ authors, by women. Books about racism, sexuality, gender, and history. For three years, PEN America has been tracking book bans across all 50 states, and the data in our latest report, “Banned in the USA: Narrating the Crisis,” reveals that banning activity continues to accelerate. As a member of PEN America—an advocate for the freedom to read—you may be asking, “What can I do to fight book bans, to get the books back on the shelves?” We’re putting together a panel of experts to answer that question and more in this exclusive webinar.

Join us and fellow PEN America members on July 9th at 6 pm ET over Zoom as we delve into the current state of U.S. book bans and provide actionable strategies to fight them. Our expert on book bans, Sabrina Baêta, will present a briefing on the report. Baêta will be joined by author and educator Cathy Fleischer; author, educator and founder of the Panther Anti-Racist Union Ben Hodge; and author, educator, and fierce LGBTQIA+ advocate Patricia A. Jackson to discuss effective strategies for combating the book ban crisis. The session will conclude with a Q&A. To secure your spot for this exclusive event, please visit the password-protected PEN America Member Benefits page:


Not a member? Join today!

Members receive benefits such as discounts to events, access to exclusive resources, and the opportunity to engage with other members in the U.S. and around the world. To learn more about member benefits and the membership community, please visit pen.org/join. You can also contact us directly anytime at [email protected] with questions or comments regarding membership at PEN America.


Cathy Fleischer is a former high school teacher, retired English education professor, award-winning author, and passionate supporter of K-12 educators. For the last decade, she has been committed to the work of Everyday Advocacy—a strategic initiative designed to help teachers learn practical measures to shape the narrative surrounding public education. Everyday Advocacy supports a website and a YouTube channel, and offers webinars and workshops for teachers around the country. Cathy is also co-author (with Antero Garcia) of Everyday Advocacy: Teachers Who Change the Literacy Narrative.

Ben Hodge is a twenty-plus year veteran of the classroom and stage. He teaches Acting and Speech classes and serves as the artistic director for his high school. He has directed over 50 productions and his play Reach was performed Off-Broadway in 2009. A passionate advocate for Education Policy and Diversity initiatives, he created the Panther Anti-Racist Union in 2020 to establish a space for students to have courageous conversations and advocacy regarding social justice issues. This group went on to overturn two book bans in their district. His new book, Fighting Censorship, releases in November of 2024. When he is not teaching or advocating, he is reading history, gaming or binge-watching shows with his wife, two teenage children and two Yorkies.

Patricia A. Jackson is a twenty-nine-year veteran in education. She spent the first half of her career as an administrator and teacher in the School District of the City of York. The latter half has been teaching World Literature and Creative Writing at Central York High School. A fierce LGBTQIA+ advocate, Ms. Jackson facilitates The Beautiful People, a student-run club that creates safe spaces for teens within the school community. When the school board voted to ban hundreds of books based on race and sexual orientation, she joined the Panther Anti-Racist Union as co-advisor to assist the successful fight to overturn that ruling. Ms. Jackson is also a published author. Her fantasy novel Forging a Nightmare debuted in November, 2021 from Angry Robot Books, UK.

Sabrina Baêta is a Program Manager with Freedom to Read at PEN America. She engages in research and awareness-building around censorship attacks on public K-12 education, especially as it relates to literature accessibility in libraries and classrooms. Sabrina graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Music in Voice, and then from the University of Central Florida with a Master of Nonprofit Management. She is a poet, essayist, and writer and prior to PEN America, worked in educational publishing and in a variety of performing arts and education nonprofits.