This year, Banned Books Week is more important than ever. Challenges to books and intellectual freedom run rampant in school districts, public libraries, and the community at large. Threats of job termination and violence against librarians and educators (and creators!) continue to rise, running rampant nationwide. At Vault, we continue to push back against any challenges and bans. Here’s what Vault’s Editor-in-Chief, Adrian Wassel, has to say:
I’m tired of not talking about book banning plainly. I’m tired of the sterilized language we so often use, which treats book challenges as disembodied events that just happen. They do not just happen. They are acts of people.
And the people who attempt to censor books are cowards.
The data is clear. The unprecedented book challenges we’ve seen in the last two years are targeted at eliminating the stories of LGBTQIA+ creators, Black creators, Indigenous creators, and creators of color. Groups like Moms for Liberty and No Left Turn in Education are afraid of the people in this world who do not speak, see, love, and live as they do. Most of all, they fear our stories because our stories are the indomitable proof that we exist. Our stories prove that we do not eke out existence cowering beneath their enmity but feel and flourish in magnitudes undaunted.
I’ve worked in publishing since I was nineteen. I began as an editor at my university’s literary magazine. Twelve years later, I am now the editor-in-chief of Vault. We are a queer and BIPOC-founded independent publisher of genre graphic novels and comic books, and we have sold millions of books in our six years in the market. We have had covers flagged and pulled. We have had books stopped at press for queer content. We have watched as unparalleled numbers of book challenges turn to bans, riding on waves of hate mail and threats. But we have also won awards, rallied massive fandoms, and seen the stories of our creators translated into dozens of languages and adapted on screen and in audio. Vault will never stop publishing the stories that matter to us and millions of readers.
The people who attempt to censor books may carry on with their cowardice.
But in the end, cowards always lose.
— Adrian Wassel, Co-founder & Editor-in-Chief at Vault Comics
RESOURCE LINKS FOR BANNED BOOKS WEEK:
ALA’s Banned & Challenged Books Advocacy site:
https://bannedbooksweek.org/resources/ (a HUGE wealth of info and links!)
National Coalition Against Censorship
NCTE– the National Council of Teachers of English