I wrote this poem for Freedom to Read week, which happens at the end of February each year.
Freedom to Read
The Freedom to Read is truly precious;
Take grave care that you do not lose
the freedom to learn, explore, peruse,
and pick up or put down whatever you choose.
This freedom, in fact, is the right to get wise;
to consider all sides, agree, criticize,
approve or disprove, with unlimited sources,
to scour all evidence with your own two eyes.
Having access to something doesn’t mean you promote it.
How do you seek truth in what you consume?
Pull it apart and consider who wrote it,
discuss every view, question, thought, and idea,
regardless of whether or not you support it.
Upsetting words upon a page,
voices in your ear, scenes on a screen,
may be deemed problematic, or fill you with rage,
but ignorance is not a solution.
How do we praise or denounce ideas
when they are locked tight in a far-away cage?
Who is to say what shouldn’t be
available to you, or them, or me?
Censorship, despite claiming noble intentions,
fixes nothing, suppresses all.
If you don’t like it, you need not look;
simply close the book.