Conversations on Censorship
Virtual Event Series
Teachers, librarians, and other educators face challenges to books and curriculum at multiple levels. NCTE is partnering with the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) to provide practical advice and support, beginning with a series of events on censorship.
To kick off this series, we assembled a panel of experts to discuss censorship both broadly and from their specific points of view as educators, authors, and censorship experts. The panel included NCTE president Alfredo Celedón Luján, NCAC director of programs Svetlana Mintcheva, author Nic Stone, and NCTE member Vikki Orepitan. The event took place on March 22, 2021.
Future events and workshops will focus on specific censorship-related topics such as race and gender, using and creating rationales, and other relevant topics. The first workshop takes place on April 26 from 4 – 5:30p.m. ET. See details below.
You can learn more about NCTE and NCAC resources at our newly updated Intellectual Freedom Center webpage. Please take some time to read The Free Expression Educators Handbook in particular to familiarize yourself with the basics for educators. Contact IntellectualFreedom@ncte.org with any questions.
NCTE membership is required for participation in these event. To learn more or to become a member, please visit our website. These are virtual events held via Zoom. The links to join each event will be emailed to the registration address 24 hours before the event and a reminder email will be sent one hour before our start time.
Conversations on Censorship: Workshop on Race
Monday, April 26
4–5:30 p.m. ET
This inaugural workshop launches a series of highly practical opportunities for NCTE members to work holistically in a small group on issues of censorship. Participants will exchange expertise in a peer-to-peer format, and conversations will be entirely confidential.
The workshop will begin with a presentation by Gordon Danning from the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), who will give an overview of NCAC and NCTE resources, current cases, and important information for educators dealing with issues of censorship focused on race. Participants will then bring their own experiences, concerns, and/or case studies that fit with this theme so we can discuss all aspects of censorship cases, from planning to challenge to resolution.
You will make connections with fellow educators and NCTE and NCAC staff. You will leave the event equipped with new knowledge and a supportive network that you can draw on in the years to come.
This workshop is free for NCTE members. Participation is limited to 25 people. Please email your name, the grade level you teach, your location, and the reason for which you are interested in attending to IntellectualFreedom@ncte.org by April 16, 2021. If we receive more than 25 requests, we will create a waiting list. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by April 19. Individuals on the waiting list will be notified on a rolling basis if space becomes available.
A future event will focus on issues of gender and sexuality. If you have ideas for other issues you would like to explore, please email us at IntellectualFreedom@ncte.org.
Previous Events in this series:
A Conversation on Censorship
ABOUT THE PANEL
Alfredo Celedón Luján is the president of NCTE as well as an English teacher at Monte del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where his students were featured in a segment of CPB/Annenberg’s The Expanding Canon: Teaching Multicultural Literature. He hails from Nambé, northern New Mexico. He received his bachelor of science degree in education from New Mexico State University and his master of arts in English and master of letters from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. He has been a writer-in-residence at the Noepe Center for Literary Arts at Martha’s Vineyard and with the multicultural Artists in Schools Program in Alaska. He has been a recipient of three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and was named one of New Mexico’s Golden Apple Award winners for excellence in teaching in 2015.
Svetlana Mintcheva is the director of programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship. She has written on emerging trends in censorship; organized public discussions; and mobilized support for individual artists, curators, authors, teachers and librarians. She is the coeditor of Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression (The New Press, 2006) and Curating Under Pressure: International Perspectives on Negotiating Conflict and Upholding Integrity (Routledge, 2020). An academic as well as an activist, she has taught literature and critical theory at the University of Sofia; at Duke University, from which she received her PhD in critical theory in 1999; and at New York University. Her current research focuses on challenges to the concept of free speech posed by social media, social justice movements, and political polarization.
Vikki Orepitan is a ninth-grade pre-AP English teacher at Cinco Ranch High School in the Katy ISD of Texas. She received the 2019 Mercedes Bonner Leadership Award from the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (an NCTE affiliate). She also received the 2018 NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award for publicly opposing her district’s banning of Angie Thomas’s novel The Hate U Give. She has taught English and ethics (civics) to students in Texas and Abu Dhabi in grades 7 to 12. Inspired by her childhood teachers, her college instructors, and her mentors, she wishes to empower educators and students to challenge injustice and model leadership in their communities.
Nic Stone is the author of the New York Times bestseller and William C. Morris finalist Dear Martin and its companion novel Dear Justyce, which looks at the power of circumstance in decision making and seeks to stir compassion for a population of black children who have been deemed unworthy of it: the incarcerated. She also wrote the teen novels Odd One Out, an NPR Best Book and Rainbow Book List top ten selection, and Jackpot, a love-ish story that takes a searing look at economic inequality among young adults. Her middle grade debut, Clean Getaway, is a New York Times bestseller that explores coming to grips with the pain of the past and the humanity of our heroes. It received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, which called it “an absolute firecracker of a book.” Nic is the 2020 recipient of NCTE’s National Intellectual Freedom Award. She lives in Atlanta with her adorable little family.