A Pennsylvania news source called The Keystone documented the establishment of a giveaway for “banned books” near the site of the Philadelphia convention of “Moms for Liberty” that’s been unfolding.
Moms for Liberty is a right-wing organization originating evidently with a group of Floridians that has helped organize and lead the charge of turning local schools into political battlegrounds through means including weaponizing the process of challenging books on shelves, and protesters met participants in the group’s convention throughout Philadelphia.
Under guidelines that have been established in Florida itself, book challenges there mean that the disputed volume will be — in general — instantly removed from access in whatever educational institution or institutions are relevant to the particular discussion, meaning that even just making a complaint is enough to cut back on some local children’s access to these reading materials. And many have observed that book challenges have focused on volumes featuring themes like LGBTQ+ identity and the experiences of Black Americans. They obviously have a trend to follow in those attacks considering the animosity seen from Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis towards even offering an Advanced Placement (AP) course in African American Studies for state high school students.
According to an April article from PEN America, the organization tabulated 1,477 book bans just from July to December of last year, and among the individual titles affected by these bans, LGBTQ+ and Black Americans saw stories about their lives disproportionately impacted. Over one-fourth featured either LGBTQ+ characters or themes, while nearly one-third (30 percent) “include characters of color or discuss race and racism,” they said.
With white people estimated to comprise 75 percent of the U.S. population and self-identification as a member of the LGBTQ+ community still in the single digits last year, these figures are wildly disproportionate to the population shares these communities comprise. The numbers from PEN America focus on restrictive action taken in schools — action that leading Republicans vociferously support, considering Trump and DeSantis’s participation in the summit of Moms for Liberty.
Banned Book Giveaway getting set up outside the Moms for Liberty conference in Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/S1MJBAubii
— The Keystone (@TheKeystone) June 29, 2023