FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2023
JULIA ROBERTS, CONNIE BRITTON, STERLING K. BROWN, SELMA BLAIR, AND MORE ISSUE CALL TO ACTION #LETAMERICAREAD
The new campaign launched today during National School Library Month in response to the growing number of banned books in U.S. public schools and libraries
LOS ANGELES - CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), in partnership with Campaign for Our Shared Future, a non-partisan effort to preserve equity and excellence in K-12 education, launched #LetAmericaRead, a new initiative designed to raise awareness of the growing danger of book bans in America.
Between July 2021 and June 2022, 2,571 unique books that fairly address issues of race, gender, and culture in age-appropriate ways were at risk of being banned from classroom and library shelves by state or local officials. In response, celebrities including Chloë Grace Moretz, Julia Roberts, Connie Britton, Sterling K. Brown, Julianna Margulies, Selma Blair, Shonda Rhimes, Andy Cohen, and many other public figures are issuing a call to action - #LetAmericaRead.
According to a recent report issued by the American Library Association, book bans and restrictions at school and public libraries set a record in 2022, with the vast majority targeting those focused on history, diversity, and marginalized communities. States including Florida, Arizona, Iowa, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma, have proposed or passed legislation targeting reading material, with books including Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Beloved”, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, and “The 1619 Project”, a Pulitzer Prize-winning report from The New York Times on the legacy of slavery in the U.S.
“History is clear: good ideas are strengthened through contest, as governments are through debate. Since time immemorial, book banning has been the refuge of leaders who fear that their arguments and writs cannot withstand scrutiny. Its violence is born of weakness. And we are not a weak people – fighting book bans is an act of patriotism and a show of strength,” stated Emmy Award-winning actress, Julianna Margulies.
“I am a reader. I think all books have some value, but the life changing books that have fought for that space in the school Canon of literature, they represent what has been so vital to America. Eli Wiesel’s books and “The Diary of Anne Frank” taught me the importance of never forgetting. And to keep tragedies alive in writing teaches the resilience we have. They went through it and they wrote about it so one day we won’t have to,” stated actress Selma Blair.
“This current wave of book banning in the U.S. is an issue that we all need to be deeply concerned about,’” said CAA Foundation Executive Deborah Marcus. “Librarians and teachers across the country are being targeted, threatened, and fired for putting books on shelves that are age appropriate, historically sound, and reflective of society during the time periods in which they were set. The bans and these tactics pose a direct threat to the health of our entire educational ecosystem and to our democracy. The CAA Foundation has been committed to supporting students in our nation’s public schools for over 25 years. We are proud to organize our artist community to help amplify the calls to action put forth by the grassroots organizations who are fighting this current wave of censorship.”
“Books have the power to introduce us to new places, cultures, and perspectives. But right now students across the country are facing empty bookshelves in their classrooms and school libraries. Books that have been read for generations are being banned by extremists who appoint themselves judge and jury on what’s appropriate for everyone else. Our children deserve the freedom to learn about our history, diverse stories, and each other. We must all join together to defeat book bans and keep age-appropriate books in the hands of our students. We must Let America Read,” stated Campaign for Our Shared Future Executive Director, Heather Harding, Ed.D.
About Campaign For Our Shared Future
The Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) is a non-partisan effort to support high quality K-12 education and preserve access, inclusion, and meaningful content in our schools so that every student has an opportunity to succeed and thrive. COSF is a common ground effort committed to fighting the attack on education across the country.
About CAA Foundation
The CAA Foundation activates the power and reach of the entertainment, media, and sports industries to create systemic social change for a more equitable and optimistic future. Its efforts are focused on public education, workforce development, civic engagement, and in times of critical need, mobilizing into action through crisis relief. Since its launch in 1995, the CAA Foundation has served as the heart of the agency, investing in our communities and helping our clients achieve their humanitarian goals.