“What they’re trying to do offends me at the root of who I am and what I’m about.”
LeVar Burton, Rosario Dawson, Andy Cohen, Rita Moreno, Ariana DeBose, Margaret Atwood, Maia Kobabe, W. Kamau Bell, Amber Tamblyn, Josh Malina, Ann Patchett, Anthony Rapp, Jason Collins, Manny Fidel, Adina Porter, Franchesca Ramsey, Baratunde Thurston, Tess Gattsuto, Jessica Burbank, Akilah Hughes, Alimi Ballard, Travon Free, Piper Perabo, Alysia Reiner, Chris Mosier, Lea Thompson, Angie Thomas, and Internet Today
Washington, D.C. – As reported in GQ today, MoveOn Political Action and LeVar Burton released a new original T-shirt for sale in support of their collaboration fighting book bans for National Banned Book Week. The limited-edition Read Banned Books shirt features the likeness of the lifetime literacy champion LeVar Burton and is for sale here. Already the most popular shirt in MoveOn’s history, the shirt will fund MoveOn’s Banned Bookmobile and other efforts to curb book bans.
In the GQ interview, Burton, former host of the PBS series “Reading Rainbow” and executive producer of the 2023 documentary “The Right to Read,” shared, “When you have legislators staging book-burning events, I’m happy to know that politician’s name and where he’s from, because what they’re trying to do offends me at the root of who I am and what I’m about.”
He continued, “We have to find hope and inspiration wherever we can find it. We have to seek it out. And this is something we can do something about. We may feel helpless on an individual level, but we can do something about book bans at an individual level.”
“We wanted to make an icon shirt honoring the living literacy legend and paying homage to the advocacy of literature,” said MoveOn Political Action Executive Director Rahna Epting in the GQ interview. “It’s not just about a T-shirt, it’s about the message.”
She continued, “An extreme minority effort is pushing these policies on the people of this country,” “Most people feel that they can make decisions for their own kids and their own families about what they read and what they don’t read, and they don’t need legislation taking away their ability to make choices for their own people.”
“There’s a reason why millions of MoveOn members have rallied in support of our campaign to read banned books. Literacy is an antidote to ignorance. I know there’s more of us than them, and that this is not the end. These book bans will not last forever.”
As GQ wrote, “Even in the face of an increasingly militant book-banning movement, Epting and Burton say they’re not giving up; they hope this merch collab will get people excited to fight back.” This is the latest collaboration between Burton and MoveOn. As covered in The Hollywood Reporter, the duo launched an open letter with nearly 175 creative leaders/celebs denouncing the rising wave of book bans across the country at www.ArtistsAgainstBookBans.com
The uptick in challenges, restrictions, and bans of books and curricula related to gender, sexuality, race, and multicultural history continues. A new report from the free speech group PEN America found that school book bans and restrictions in the U.S. rose 33% in the last school year. As extremists continue to remove and restrict access to books – or in the case of Missouri lawmakers, symbolically burn them – MoveOn will be headed on the road again distributing free banned books with its Banned Bookmobile in October. Starting during the national Banned Books Week, October 1-7, the tour will include events and author readings in states like Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, as well as stops in conjunction with Crooked Media’s live “Pod Save America” and “Lovett or Leave It” podcast show events.
MoveOn is a people-powered force for progress. MoveOn mobilizes the left to elect Democrats and enact progressive change. We are the homebase for millions of members who refuse to accept the status quo and are moved to take action. For more than a generation, MoveOn has been a bulwark against the radical right, channeling our voices to end wars, protect democracy, and advance justice for all.