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A Community Action Toolkit for Parents & Caregivers
Are you a parent/ caregiver who wants to make sure your child's curiosity, intellectual freedom, and reading life is as rich, and as powerful as possible? Are you tired of efforts by small and loud voices who want to take over your parental voice and your child's rights? Then we are here to help! Welcome!
The Get Ready, Stay Ready: Community Action Toolkit is an effort by a group of parents and librarians who believe that the power is in community, in togetherness, in a collective outcry and a collective pushback against those who want to erase our stories , our history, our existence. Here you will find curated resources including scripts for public speaking and writing, fantastic video presentations, training materials equipping you to learn more about (and fight back) censorship's impact on education and society, tools for civic engagement, and a network of organizations across the country that are determined to preserve your child's right to a high-quality education through intellectual freedom.
Why is Your Voice, Your Actions, Your Involvement Needed? Read "Playing Catch-Up to the Censors, the Fight for the Freedom to Read Needs a Grassroots Revolution" by Kara Yorio, for a clear explanation on why your effort is needed more than ever!
Each tile below will link you to a collection of resources we reviewed and selected to help you become a powerful advocate for your child. Click on each one to access these resources. Get Ready, Stay Ready is an on-going effort and we invite you to recommend resources for inclusion and sharing. Please check back often, and share widely. We are the majority.
Meet the team.
Valerie Byrd Fort
VBF is an Instructor for the School of Information Science at the University of South Carolina, a Ph.D. student in Language & Literacy at UofSC, and the Coordinator for Cocky's Reading Express, UofSC's Literacy Outreach Program.
A community organizer, attorney, and queer mom to two kids, Alli Harper is the founder and owner of OurShelves, a diverse children's books subscription service and advocacy effort.
Stacy Collins (she/they)
Stacy is the Instruction Librarian and Geographer-at-Large at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, Phillips Academy. She was named a 2021 Mover & Shaker.
After more than two decades as a lawyer assisting families with adoption matters, Sherry has pursued a Masters in Library and Information Science at UofSC and works as a middle school librarian in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. April Dawkins
Dawkins is an assistant professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. April's research focuses on intellectual freedom issues including self-censorship, access and equity, and privacy.
Dr. Lucy Santos Green
A parent and former school librarian, Green is the Director of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa. Lucy's research focuses on school library services to marginalized populations, technology-enabled inquiry learning, and digital learning.
Cynthia Richardson Johnson
Cynthia is an 18 year veteran K-12 teacher with 10 years of experience as a school librarian. She is an Information Science PhD student at the University of South Carolina.
Round Rock Black Parents Association
When a 14 year old Black student was choke-slammed by a school resource officer, Black parents in our community had experienced enough. We began to organize and attend board meetings demanding accountability for the actions of the district. Parents again organized around the repeated use of the n-word on campuses, followed by a letter to the board of trustees to address the poor outcomes for Black students in Round Rock ISD.
We have since grown into a strong, grass-roots organization that has partnered with other community activists, organizers, non-profits, and business to advocate for equity within the greater Austin area. We aim to educate each other and our community on racial and educational equity through our partnerships, as well as unify and empower parents to be leaders within their schools. We believe that parent involvement goes beyond the walls of a classroom and invite educators to share in our vision of reimagining the role of parents.
Defense of Democracy
The group Defense of Democracy came into being in mid-May of 2022 in response to the very real threat posed by Moms for Liberty endorsed candidates as they vowed that "If we can’t infuse our Christian values into this (curriculum) then we’ll keep it that benign state," and further stated “I can’t say honestly that I really want to be a school board member, but...I do feel compelled, and I do feel like it’s a call from God." There are Defense of Democracy members of all political leanings who do not believe that a "call from God" is a serious reason to run for school board, or that schools should be limited to only teaching "math, science, history...the end," or that a "Christian worldview" is an appropriate goal to steer our public schools toward.
Working across party lines does not mean seeking compromise for compromises' sake; individuals do not have to abandon their core beliefs or political principals to understand that being American is not defined by religion or sexual identity. Agreement on this one point does not indicate agreement on every other topic.