A recent article in the PGN (“Free Library braces for a possible right-wing protest of Pride events,” May 30, 2023) reported that the right-wing group “Moms for Liberty” is planning to host their national summit conference in Philadelphia and are planning to protest at some branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia. A library is a place where we go to learn, to share community, and read new and classic literature — many of which embrace the beauty of diversity and values of belonging.
When we dissect the word liberty, we understand it is the state of being free from oppressive restrictions. So how can you advocate for liberty when actively working to oppress people’s freedom to choose what to read?
Any group that targets a place that offers readers imaginative fictional stories, as well as non-fiction and real-world lived experiences to educate many, isn’t standing for liberty. They are actually oppressing people who don’t share their views.
With the fast-growing movement to be inclusive, supportive and affirming of every member of our community, we see the backlash from groups who wish to reverse what progress has been made. They want to return to an America that was segregated and filled with hate, an America where the stories of Black and brown and LGBTQ+ Americans were hidden from view.
We won’t go back! As the attacks on queer and trans rights continue throughout the nation, we are reminded that the fight for equity and dignity shall be fought by us all. There can be no liberty for one if we can’t have justice for us all.
My suggestion for this group: DON’T COME TO PHILLY. Banning books and outlawing trans people does not make schools safer or society any better. And such hateful policies are a far cry from fighting for “liberty.”
Naiymah Sanchez is the senior organizer for ACLU Pennsylvania.