Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly

If you have been following Twitter at all in the past 24 hours or so, you may have seen the hashtag "speakloudly." And if you haven't, definitely check out Laurie Halse Anderson's post about the censorship facing Speak (amongst other titles) in Missouri. It's an eye opener and a sad, sad day for everyone when rape is ever, ever considered pornography.

I was lucky enough to be able to host Ms. Halse Anderson on a Skype chat this past January at my library. I had a good turn out in teens and let me just say, each of them had something powerful and emotional to say about Speak. If it is a rare woman, of any age, who does not know someone, whether male or female, who has been sexually abused in some way, whether that is rape or through other terrible means. These teens were giddy to talk with Laurie Halse Anderson and the book they wanted to talk about was Speak. Of course, this author has written some other pretty powerful books too but I think Speak truly resonates with today's teens in so many ways. I know I went home that day emotionally drained because these teens (and yes, they were girls, I just didn't have a high guy turn out for this event) were willing to open themselves up to the author and to virtual strangers. And no, they didn't all have something sexually horrific in nature to relate. Instead, what they chose to talk about was how Speak helped them find their own voice in different situations when they did not have any other option of talking. Whether that was art, through friends, whatever, I truly felt these teens understood what Speak means on so many levels.

Which makes what Wesley Scroggins has to say all that much more despicable, hateful, and filled with censorship.

I read numerous posts and tweets ttoday on this topic while I thought about what Speak Loudly means to me. And it means many, many things, but one powerful thing it stands for is that everyone should be allowed to speak in his or her own way. No one should feel they have to be oppressed in silence. Find your point of expression and use it however you want. No one can tell you what not to feel or think or do, certainly not someone like Wesley Scroggins.

I just want to point you out to a few other posts that talk about this topic hell of a lot more eloquently than I ever could:

The Last Word: SPEAKing Out
Sarah Ockler on Book Banning Zealots & Ostriches
The Story Siren--Listen Hard

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