She was one of several local speakers at the Sunday event to kick of National Banned Book Week. MoveOn, a liberal political action group, hosted the event to mobilize members of the community to stand against policies that allow for book banning and to hand out commonly banned or challenged books.
It’s a subject that hits close to home in metro Atlanta. The Cobb County School District recently removed two books from school libraries for containing “sexually explicit” content at the request of an outside group. The fallout from that decision continues. At the most recent school board meeting, protesters called for the firing of Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, and he spoke for 20 minutes about the school district’s responsibility to restrict students’ access to “vulgar, sexually explicit, lewd, obscene or pornographic materials.”
Marietta City Schools removed the same two books, and at the board’s direction is planning to review all of the more than 20,000 books in the district’s libraries for sexually explicit content.
And the Forsyth County School District made national news in 2022 for removing eight books, then subsequently putting seven back in high schools.
“Censorship is an affront to a free society,” Rinderle said, reading from prepared remarks. “My own experience highlights the urgent need to oppose extremist efforts on book removals and bans in education, while advocating for inclusivity and antibullying efforts.”
“Buy ‘My Shadow is Purple,’” she concluded, to cheers from the crowd.
Books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobaba were all up for grabs at the event. Organizers said “My Shadow is Purple” is currently sold out and wasn’t available.
Other speakers, including students from Cobb and Forsyth counties and Becky Albertalli, the author of the young adult novel that was adapted into the movie “Love, Simon,” also urged people to advocate against censorship and to read books that are challenged by a minority.
A recent Washington Post analysis of more than 1,000 book challenges in the 2021-2022 school year found that more than 60% of them were made by just 11 people.
The Banned Book Tour is a multistate endeavor. Organizers will also distribute free banned books on Thursday, Oct. 5 at Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, in concert with Crooked Media’s “Lovett or Leave It” live podcast taping.