Dear PFLAG Supporter,
October 1 - 7 is Banned Book Week! The ALA cites a 38% increase in unique books targeted for censorship this past year, and 7 of the top 13 most challenged books centered LGBTQ+ themes. With censorship on the rise, PFLAG chapters can be leaders in their community to advocate for keeping schools and libraries places where all kids can explore their identities. What are you doing to be proactive about censorship in your community? Here are some ideas on how to get started!
- When do your library/school boards meet? Find out about their meetings, structures, and other key details like how to sign up as a speaker. Oftentimes, library and school board meeting information can be hard to find, and differs between communities. Simply gathering that information and sharing it can help spread the word!
- Connect with your local librarians or PTAs. Even if censorship isn’t happening in your community, developing relationships with local librarians and parents is an important coalition building skill that allows you to deepen ties, either to be ready when censorship arises or to further grow your communities resources!
- Testify at a local board meeting. Your voice matters! Consider testifying about what you’re seeing in your community - good or bad. When you’re engaged as a responsive, informed community member it helps show that you’re committed to building your community. Show up to meetings to speak against policies that negatively impact the LGBTQ+ community, but also make sure you go and praise affirming policies to show officials that their efforts are being recognized and appreciated.
- Support your local library or school libraries. Whether it’s donating books, volunteering to support storytimes, or writing book resumes to share more about challenged or banned books, every bit of support is helpful.
- Host a #ReadWithLove-in. Fighting censorship is hard, and often puts us face to face with a lot of negativity. Organizing a #ReadWithLove-In gives your chapter the opportunity to do something fun, family-friendly, and accessible! All you need to do is grab a banned book and some folks who want to read - either as a story-time, or individually.
The new Member Portal is here! As we've mentioned before, the Member Portal has replaced the Chapter Hub and will now serve as your central hub for all your chapter-related needs. All of the resources that were previously accessible through the Chapter Leader Portal are also now directly accessible through the Member Portal.
To ensure a smooth transition to the new Member Portal, we're hosting a dedicated training session for chapter leaders on October 3. Registration is still open, and we're excited to have you join us!
Beginning today, you as a chapter leader, can activate your account by following the steps outlined below. Each person will have a unique login linked to the email address we have in their account. In the instructions below, we’ve included the email address we have and that will double as your username. If you need to change your email address, please contact Angel Kearns (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Brooke Smith (email@example.com).
- Go to pflag.org/memberlogin
- Click “Forgot Password”
- Enter your email address - The email you received this at - this will be your username
- You will receive an email with instructions on creating your new password
- Return to pflag.org/memberlogin to log in
Need more inspiration on where to get started fighting censorship in your community? Check out these examples from fellow PFLAG chapters working to #ReadWithLove.
PFLAG Skagit has resisted censorship by donating books to local school libraries: “In 2022 and 2023 with all the budget cuts to schools and the banned books efforts, PFLAG Skagit decided to consult with a local librarian to pick out books with LGBTQ+ themes for elementary, middle and high school students. In 2022, we chose the books and donated them to the libraries. In 2023, we donated $150.00 to each school library, since our school librarians were doing a good job of choosing books that came already cataloged and ready to go on the shelves.”
PFLAG San Diego has a book club that reads banned books: “The PFLAG San Diego County Book Club has a core group of regulars who love to read and discuss books written by the LGBTQ+ community and with LGBTQ+ themes. Two of our book selections have been in the top most challenged books lists of recent years: Gender Queer, by Maia Kobabe, and Lawn Boy, by Jonathan Evison. A book club is a great way to fight censorship since we can come to our own conclusions about the complete work and share our thoughts in discussion, instead of hearing cherry-picked segments picked out of context.”
Sachelle Brooks (she/her)
Sachelle Brooks | Chapter Engagement Coordinator
Southern Region (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, PR, SC, TN, TX)
PFLAG National | P: (202) 558-5581 | pflag.org | straightforequality.org