The Freedom to Read, Speak and Dissent Is Essential to Our Democracy. Take action 4-5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29

If you’re concerned about censorship and the curtailment of the free flow of ideas in the United States, please join this action:

Friday Sept. 29, 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Yale’s Sterling Library, The New Haven Free Public Library and Yale’s Beinecke Plaza

Current threats to libraries and librarians are a sign of democracy in peril. This project is a participatory expression of the Freedom to Read statement originally written by and for librarians and publishers in 1953 and updated in 2023. This project is a rally presenting selected fragments from this timely manifesto.

The event will begin in the vicinity of Yale’s main Sterling Memorial Library, continue to the New Haven Free Public Library and culminate at the Beinecke Library, to coincide with a reception for the exhibition Art, Protest, and the Archives, a collection of artifacts documenting myriad voices of dissent throughout the past century.

4 p.m. Participants congregate at the Women’s Table fountain near the entrance to Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library (120 High St.), pick up signs, each containing a word from selected fragments of the Freedom to Read statement. These words combine to make short statements about censorship, free expression and Democracy.

Participants display their signs in a march — led by local drummers — from Sterling Library to the New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm Street) and finally to Beinecke Plaza (119 Wall Street).

At the Public Library and then at Beinecke Plaza, participants compose their choice of phrases using the texts provided.

5 p.m. With a drum roll, the participants use supplied prompts to compose the actual phrases from the Freedom to Read statement. The event ends with participants silently encircling Beinecke Library, then placing the signs as readable texts against the Noguchi wall.

Over the next few days, the public can re-order and alter the placards in whatever manner they choose, thereby creating new messages from new voices; an exercise in free speech.

5:30 p.m. Event ends; Beinecke reception continues until 7 p.m.

Conceived by Class Action Collective

Pamela Hovland [email protected]
David Comberg [email protected]
Tom Starr [email protected]
Jackie Thaw [email protected]

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