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Sept. 20th – L.A. Times & PEN America Virtual Ideas Exchange – The Book Ban Wave

L.A. Times Virtual Ideas Exchange in Partnership with PEN America – The Book Ban Wave: Educational Censorship in SoCal

Join us on September 20 at 6:00 PM PT for the latest installment of the Virtual Ideas Exchange series brought to you by the L.A. Times and PEN America.

The U.S. has seen a dramatic rise in school book bans and educational censorship, in the guise of prohibitions on teachers, libraries, and curricula. Nationwide, students, teachers, and parents are facing a wave of these measures, which disproportionately target books about people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, or books engaging themes of sexuality and gender. Books are being removed and restricted at the behest of state officials and school administrators, raising questions about students’ First Amendment rights to access information and the limits of school board policies.

These trends are impacting students, families, and educators in Southern California with increasing intensity, with disagreements about appropriate school curriculum and policy rousing contentious community engagement across the political spectrum. As a fractured nation continues to struggle with difference, the rise in educational censorship is sounding alarms for advocates of free expression, given the association of book bans with the worst forms of authoritarianism. Is this surge of book bans a harbinger of what is to come? What does the rise in educational censorship mean for our students, and our collective future?

Join author and Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week 2022 George M. Johnson, student activist Madison Clevenger, parent and advocate Brooke Harper, and author and historian of American education Michael Hines for a panel discussion on the story of educational censorship in Southern California and how it is impacting our communities.

This conversation will be moderated by Los Angeles Times writer, columnist and podcaster Patt Morrison, with an Introduction by Jon Friedman, Director of free expression and education programs at PEN America.


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Where: This free virtual event will live stream on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Links to watch will be provided the week of the event.

This event is part of a limited event series from the L.A. Times and PEN America exploring local news, press freedom, and free expression in Southern California.

If you enjoy community discussions like this one: The Times continues to offer many conversations and other events free and virtual to make it easy for our readers to participate from home.

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