People For the American Way

2023 Was a Big Year for People For’s Anti-Censorship Efforts 

News and Analysis
2023 Was a Big Year for People For’s Anti-Censorship Efforts 

This year, People For made big strides in the fight for the freedom to learn. We took on the College Board, launched our fast-growing Grandparents For Truth program to help stop censorship and stand against Moms for Liberty—who’ve had quite the year themselves—and we helped turn the tide on an over-zealous school board in Temecula. We also sponsored the reading of banned books and handed out some cool swag in support of Banned Books Week 

So, as 2023 comes to a close, let’s look back at this incredible year, celebrate our victories, and look forward to the work still to come in 2024. 

We Pressed the College Board to Stand Up to Censorship 

In March, we launched a petition which gained more than 16,000 signatures in response to the College Board—the organization which administers the SAT and creates the curricula for Advanced Placement (AP) classes—watering down parts of its AP African American Studies course curriculum. The move by the College Board came after Florida Governor and presidential longshot Ron DeSantis seemed to pressure the Board to remove certain portions of the curriculum.  

The College Board eventually acknowledged its missteps and, following our petition delivery, reversed course on its planned cuts to the curriculum. It was a tremendous victory for truth over censorship and showed just how impactful our collective voice can be. 

Grandparents For Truth Launched in Philadelphia 

Back in June, Moms for Liberty, an organization created to keep kids from accessing books and school materials the organization deems offensive (read: anything related to LGBTQ+ people), held their annual summit in Philadelphia. Grandparents For Truth showed up too. We seized the opportunity to push back against Moms for Liberty in what became an incredible show of support for People For and the freedom to learn.  

Grandparents, local activists, elected officials, partner organizations, and many more came out to support the effort. Hundreds of people filled the sidewalks outside the convention center sending a clear message that book bans and bigotry have no place in education. It was an incredible launch for Grandparents For Truth, and the program has only grown since then.  

We Defended Truth in Temecula 

At the start of the school year, Temecula, California, was dealing with school board members who were pushing a dangerous agenda on the community. Grandparents For Truth hopped into action and headed to Temecula to fight back. We worked with local community leaders from One Temecula Valley PAC on a recall campaign aimed at removing the offending school board members from office. 

In addition to firing a beloved administrator, the school board members tried to deny students access to social studies curricula that included mentions of Harvey Milk, and they even tried to force school staff to out trans kids to their parents. As of writing this, one of the extremist members of the school board has resigned, leaving the remaining board split and attempting to appoint a replacement, and the recall campaign is still going strong. 

Our Banned Books Reading Challenge Brought People Together 

During October’s Banned Books Week, we kicked off our Banned Books Reading Challenge which invited grandparents, and anyone else who believes in the freedom to learn, to send us photos, videos, and stories of them reading banned books. For each book participants read they received points towards swag from the People For shop. The responses we received were outstanding.  

People from all around the country contributed to the challenge, proving yet again that when education is on the line our supporters are eager to stand up and make a difference. And don’t worry. If you missed the challenge this year, you can still get your hands on amazing People For and Grandparents For Truth swag here 

We Urged Scholastic To Reverse Course on Book Segregation

Following reports that children’s book publisher Scholastic was considering banishing books about race, gender, or sexuality to a separate section at school book fairs, including biographies of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and civil rights icon John Lewis, to accommodate local and state restrictions on materials that can be taught, we jumped into action, issuing statements and launching a petition strongly urging Scholastic to change its new policy. Following intense public pressure from groups including People For, Scholastic apologized and will not put the books in a separate catalog or section.

We’re So Excited for 2024 

The past year has been fantastic for Grandparents For Truth, and we have even more planned for 2024. We won’t spoil everything up our sleeves, but we want to give a sneak peek at what’s to come. 

Grandparents For Truth Florida Teach-In 

This coming February, we’re celebrating Black History Month in Florida. We’ll be convening grandparents, teachers, students, librarians, faith leaders, local activists, elected officials, and national partners in Orlando to talk about hidden Black history and how to fight back against efforts to silence the teaching of Black history. 

Grandparents For Truth Clubs 

We’re looking for passionate grandparents who are interested in starting their own local Grandparents For Truth clubs. Club leaders receive a swag package and a host of resources, trainings, and one-on-one guidance to help them fight back against book and curriculum bans, authoritarianism, and censorship. Stay tuned for more info on how you can get involved and start your own Grandparents For Truth club in our community. 

You Can Help Us Protect the Freedom to Learn 

Every year, we stand against book banning, censorship, and bigotry in education, but we can’t do this crucial work without your support. Whether you start your own Grandparents For Truth club in 2024, become a member of People For, donate to help us defend the freedom to learn, or just pick up a cool “Knowledge is Power” t-shirt, every contribution goes a long way.


Banned Books Week, Book Bans, Censorship, Grandparents For Truth, Truth