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Ariana, Gabrielle, LeVar & More Join Celebs Campaign Against Book Bans

Ariana, Gabrielle, LeVar & More Join Celebs Campaign Against Book Bans

LeVar Burton, Ariana Grande and Gabrielle Union
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LeVar Burton is leading a coalition of celebrities who have united against book bans.

A-listers are urging people to take a stand against book bans in their communities.

LeVar Burton is leading a coalition of celebrities including Ariana Grande, Gabrielle Union, Billy Porter, Chelsea Handler, Idina Menzel, Andy Cohen, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Natasha Lyonne, and many more who have united against book bans.

“As artists, creators, entertainers, and activists, we recognize and are horrified by the threat of censorship in the form of book bans,” the group wrote in a letter sent on Tuesday. “The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to, or consume.”

The letter was published by progressive public advocacy organization and political action committee MoveOn. It was signed by 175 entertainers.

As of last month, book bans reached a 27-year high in the United States, most of which have occurred in Republican states targeting material with LGBTQ+ or racial themes.

Book bans reach alarming high

The group continued to say that the wave of book bans sweeping the nation "is not just antithetical to free speech and expression, but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field.” It urged readers to get involved at the local level at school board meetings to voice their opposition to "oppressive bans."

“We are calling on everyone to join us in pushing back against these book bans, support free and open creative industries — regardless of personal or ideological disagreements — and use their voice at the local level to stop these bans in their school districts," it continued. "There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us."

Burton, former star of Star Trek: The Next Generation and host of children's educational program Reading Rainbow, added that the coalition is "calling on everyone to join us in raising their voices to uphold artistic freedom, embrace multicultural history, and put a stop once and for all to book bans.”

“It’s embarrassing that we are banning books in this country, in this culture, in this day and age. And it’s dangerous that a handful of individuals are deciding that any book with Black and queer people is divisive,” he said.

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Ryan Adamczeski