by Hiranmayi Ganapathy ('24)
On October 4, the Amnesty International Club offered tea in the library throughout the day to support Banned Book Week, which highlights various topics such as LGBTQ+, Modern Slavery, Anti-Police Rhetoric, Black Lives Matter, Racial Discrimination, Gun Violence, Women's Rights, and Sexual Assault among others.
Books consisting of such topics are banned by some schools today due to various reasons, mainly being that they are not “appropriate.”
As this event was for Banned Book Week, it is important to be aware of this issue.
Amnesty International’s website states, “Banning books may be an attempt to protect certain values or beliefs, but it ultimately is a challenge to freedom of expression and limits our understanding of the world and our ability to think critically.”
Additionally, Viking Television Network (VTN) recently aired the club’s current trending video with roughly one thousand views which showed several pictures of SBHS students and staff holding the sign titled, “I read banned books”.
Senior Aarushi Rajesh, PR Coordinator of Amnesty International said “I didn’t make the video however I did hear it took 1 - 2 hours!”
Some books highlighted were Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Flamer by Mike Curator, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, Sold by Patricia McCormick, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, many of which are very well known and appreciated by readers today.
Each book and genre presented corresponded to the different flavors of teas provided. Flamer by Mike Curator represented the LGBTQ + community, with its tea flavor being Citrus Tea. Sold by Patricia McCormick represented Modern Slavery and the tea was English Breakfast. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes represented Anti - Police Rhetoric and Black Lives Matter and Racial Discrimination and the tea was Wild Berry Zinger Herbal Tea (the most popular flavor). Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult represented Gun Violence and the tea was Tension Tamer. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison represented Women’s Rights and Sexual Assault and the tea was Black Cherry Berry.
“We wanted to cover a variety of reasons why these books were banned and each of the books had a different focus and those topics are all campaigns of Amnesty and each book was paired with a general cause that amnesty supports,” said the Amnesty International Club Advisor Ms. Marisol Ciccone.
Supporters say books should not be banned because they give insight to what is happening around the world. They can be informative and help understand the problems that this world faces. The topics are sensitive and people react differently to each one. These books affect people in different ways.
The librarians of South Brunswick High School started working with Amnesty two years ago after they has attended a similar library tea and were interested in having tea in this library to showcase a topic about which they were passionate.