Former DCPS school board chair and others hold read-in rally

An event designed to celebrate the freedom to read was held earlier today at Willow Branch Park.

Action News Jax spoke with several people at today’s rally who say they just want lawmakers to understand how important some of the books that have been removed are not only to them but to future generations.

“This is not the America we want for our kids,” says Former DCPS School Board Chair Elizabeth Anderson.

Anderson and other parents held a read-in rally at Willow Branch Park in Jacksonville.

According to Anderson, they had one goal in mind for today’s event.

“We wanted to come out locally to support a rally that is happening in Tallahassee to make sure our lawmakers know how important books are to us,” says Anderson.

At today’s “Let Jacksonville read” rally, Anderson and others read different passages from books that are currently banned or taken off bookshelves in the state of Florida.

She adds children have the right to a broad and diverse category of books.

“Most of us really appreciate diversity and want our children to not only see themselves in books but also to learn about people in places and experiences that they haven’t had.

Nina Perez, a community organizer with moms rising says she moved to Jacksonville because of the diversity the city has.

She says her four-year-old daughter will be starting school in the coming years and is very concerned about the direction Florida and school districts inside the state are headed.

“Seeing all of these attacks on public education, is one of the reasons I moved here. Now my kiddo isn’t going to get the education that I was expecting her to get,” says Perez.

Jessica Gonzalez traveled four hours to this event today from south Florida.

She was formerly a teacher for 12 years she says she knows how powerful books are for students inside of schools.

“I taught Fahrenheit 451 to my students; I’ve taught 1984 to my students, it’s a lot of conversation I’ve had about censorship with my students. To see it now happening in front of us in our own society it’s scary,” says Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says to ban some of these books makes certain groups of our population feel as if they don’t belong.

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