Lunch & Learn – BANNED: The War on Books, Curriculum & Our Nation’s Schools

Lunch & Learn – BANNED: The War on Books, Curriculum & Our Nation’s Schools

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Ideological battles are being waged across the country as parents, activists and lawmakers are challenging books and curriculum at a rate never seen before. While objections to sex ed and to books that teach about racism and the LGBTQ community are not new, the tactics used to ban them are: intimidating and firing librarians, teachers and administrators; disrupting school board meetings; and taking over school boards themselves, to name just a few.  

It’s happening in school districts everywhere, including many right here in New Jersey. 

Join us on April 18 for a critical conversation with those on the front lines as we learn how we can help fight censorship and stop the politicization of our public schools.  Scroll down to register!

Keynote Speaker

Tom Malinowski served two terms in the House of Representatives, after winning election in 2018 in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District. He was Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, focusing on issues ranging from national security and the war in Ukraine, to infrastructure, clean energy,  social media regulation and combatting domestic extremism.

Malinowski was born in communist Poland during the height of the Cold War, and emigrated with his mother to the United States when he was six years old. He served as a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and as a Senior Director on President Clinton’s National Security Council, working to end some the 20th century’s bloodiest conflicts. As chief Washington advocate for Human Rights Watch, he led a bipartisan effort to end the Bush administration’s use of torture after the 9/11 attacks. He later served as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, leading America’s efforts to stand up to dictators like Putin and Kim Jong Un.

He recently launched a new project, Districts for Democracy, which will campaign to keep culture wars and censorship out of our public schools. He believes that democracy works best when our kids learn to think critically and adults argue from common facts. The project will work one school board, legislative, and congressional district at a time to support candidates to freedom of inquiry, thought, and expression for everyone.

Featured Speakers

Michael Mike” Gottesman is the founder of The New Jersey Public Education Coalition (NJPEC), a non-partisan group of educators, administrators, municipal leaders, parents, and concerned citizens who seek to protect our public schools and communities from right-wing extremism. 

Martha Hickson, a New Jersey high school librarian who has fought book bans, is the recipient of the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Judith Krug Outstanding Librarian Award and the American Library Association’s Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity in recognition of her “energy and bravery in the face of … persistent and ongoing hostility.” 

Tazmine Weisgerber is the Training & Technical Assistance Manager at Answer, a national non-profit housed within Rutgers University. In this role, she is responsible for providing professional development to sex educators around the country. Taz has been working extensively with NJ school districts on the new health learning standards by training school staff and advocating for sex ed and LGBTQ+ inclusive policies. 

DATE: Tuesday, April 18, 2023

TIME: 12 noon – 2 pm

LOCATION: Temple B’nai Abraham, 300 E. Northfield Road, Livingston

REGISTRATION: $28 per person, includes lunch/Chai Circle Members at the Compassionate Level and Above may attend at no cost

Please RSVP by April 11, 2023

Contact Stephanie Abrahams, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement, with any questions.

Ticket Information

Lunch & Learn Banned: The War on Books, Curriculum & Our Nation's Schools
Lunch and Learn Banned: The War on Books, Curriculum & Our Nation's Schools (Chai Circle Compassionate Level and Above)

Date And Time

Apr-18-23 @ 12:00 PM to
Apr-18-23 @ 02:00 PM

Registration End Date


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