Those who put together Justice GA (in which HUUmanists participated effectively and enthusiastically) urged all UUs to "Bring it Home," that is, to take the emphasis on Social justice from our week in Phoenix, and convert it to both serious study AND targeted action in our local groups and congregations.
Our HUUmanist action oriented effort (in which many besides humanists participated), was to collect and display over 400 copies of the 80+ text and supplemental readings removed from Tucson classrooms under Arizona's outlawing of Ethnic Studies courses, and then to create a community lending library by donating these books to Puente's new headquarters. We partnered with Puente and Tony Diaz of Librotraficante to blend strong humanist values - intellectual freedom, opposition to censorship and equal treatment of all groups within the human community - with the opportunity for individuals to take direct action by SmUUggling one Banned Book each into Arizona.
Now we wish to give groups and congregations the same opportunity - to take a stand for the Freedom to Read, and for a minority's right to define and promote their own culture. On or around September 21, UU congregations, RE programs, social justice committees, and Huumanist organizations, national and local, along with other affinity groups, can join in a nationwide web of events called "Fifty for the Freedom to Read." More than 40 locations and groups, recruited by HUUmanists and Librotraficantes, are currently considering what actions to take.
Public readings from and displays of the Banned in Tucson books, opportunities for attendees to purchase one of the 83 titles and donate it to a future "underground libary," collections of childrens books of all kinds to supplement the largely adult titles already donated to Puente, a chance to join with local activists and representatives of the Hispanic community, and the sharing of food, music, drama and poetry of the community that we partnered with in Phoenix - any and all of these can be part of an event at your fellowship, group meeting or church.
We know the time for preparation is short, but we also know that no one event carries all the burden of this effort. Do whatever you can, and join in a continent-wide movement to call attention to the importance of standing together in the face of cultural oppression and the imposition of an intellectual and artistic straightjacket. Resist, offer alternatives, join together and celebrate! No matter how large or small your contribution, take action and be part of "Fifty for the Freedom to Read," on Friday September 21, or if it works better, Sunday September 23. Call your local library and bookstore now, and ask them to join with you. If you can't do it personally, consider recruiting someone else from your membership to take the lead.
To receive an event guide detailing how simple it is to put together a contributing event, contact Roger Brewin at 773 881 4028 or Rabrewin@aol.com.