Fight Back Against Book Bans: Tell Congress to Protect the Freedom to Learn

In the 2022–23 school year, PEN America recorded 3,362 instances of books banned, an increase of 33 percent from the 2021–22 school year. Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) and Senator Brian Schatz (HI) have introduced a resolution condemning book bans ahead of Banned Books Week (October 1 – October 7, 2023).

Nadine Farid Johnson, managing director of PEN America Washington and Free Expression Programs said of the resolution:

“Restrictions on the freedom to read and learn are turning our nation’s public schools into political battlegrounds, creating environments that make it impossible for our students to flourish and our educators to do their jobs. We applaud Representative Raskin, Senator Schatz, and the cosponsors for spearheading these timely resolutions, which highlight the troubling rise in educational censorship and reaffirm the importance of protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights.”

Urge your federal elected officials to support the Banned Books Resolution and stand up against censorship in America’s public schools.

Letter to your Congressperson

According to PEN America’s most recent book ban report, there have been 3,362 instances of book bans in the 2022-23 school year, a 33% increase over the previous year. I hope you will join me and all the Americans against censorship in schools and support H.Res. 733/S. Res. 372: which expresses concern about the spreading problem of book banning and the proliferation of threats to freedom of expression in the United States.

I agree with Rep. Jamie Raskin and Sen. Brian Schatz that the censorious efforts to remove books from our schools and libraries are a hallmark of authoritarian regimes. By speaking from the highest legislative body in the nation, Congress has a unique role to play in discouraging state and local policy makers from passing vaguely-worded legislation pushed by local and national extremist groups. These measures, whether intentionally or not, pressure school districts to remove more books from student access. Fear of penalties, legal liabilities, and criminal punishments are escalating book bans to new heights.

Protect the first amendment and stand up for the freedom to learn. I hope you will cosponsor and help to pass H.Res. 733/S. Res. 372.

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