Since she was little, Iris Mogul has always loved reading.
When The 16-year-old junior at the Academy Academy for Advanced Academics in South Florida learned that her English teacher was considering not teaching a Toni Morrison book because of the state’s political environment, she decided to start a banned book club.
There were 300 books removed from Florida schools last year, according to a list released by the Florida Department of Education. Nationally, the American Library Association found that the number of books facing challenges for censorship is up 20 percent for the first eight months of this year compared to 2022. That includes more than 800 books in school districts across 37 states.
“It was kind of like a double whammy because it’s like an act of resistance… and it’s a way to start a book club and talk to people,” said Mogul, a student in a dual enrollment program at Florida International University. As part of Florida’s expanded “Parental Rights in Education” law, one parent or community member can object to instructional material or a school library book. The law, signed in May, requires the book or materials to be removed within five days of the objection and remain unavailable to students until the issue is resolved. More books were pulled from shelves in Florida public schools than in any other state last school year.
With everything that’s going on in the world right now, we really appreciate being able to share a bit of positive news…
- The Biden administration approves $9B in student loan debt forgiveness for nearly 126,000 borrowers.
- The Biden administration takes actions to promote educational opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds in colleges and universities.
- People from Afghanistan living in the U.S. can remain without threat of deportation through May 2025.
- USCIS directs agency employees to provide access to voter registration services for new citizens during naturalization ceremonies.
- The DOT invests in over 1,700 U.S.-built buses, nearly half of which will be zero-emission models.
- CA’s Supreme Court overturns decades of rulings shielding police from lawsuits, broadening the right to seek damages for abusive police conduct.
- CT launches a “baby bonds” program to address systemic poverty.
- IL allocates $1M in funding for job assistance for the state’s tradeswomen.
- NJ requires employers with at least 50 workers to include abortion coverage in employee health plans.
- TX eliminates sales tax on menstrual products and certain baby care items.
- 29 states and Washington, DC have enacted a total of 70 laws that expand voting access.
- A court upholds NYC’s $18/hour minimum wage for food delivery workers.
- The Haudenosaunee Nationals lacrosse team reclaim their proper name.
- Iris Mogul, 16, starts a book club for her community to read and discuss books censored by the state.
- The Raleigh, NC café A Place at the Table offers a pay-what-you-can menu.
- NYC Health + Hospitals reduces their food-related carbon emissions by 36 percent within a year by primarily serving plant-based meals.
- Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court bars the country’s former president from running for office for eight years due to his false claims about the integrity of the nation’s voting systems.