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Pushing Back Against Book Bans, Fascism

Many states are now restricting, even banning, books that discuss important social issues that can be used in our schools. It’s a misguided attempt to somehow protect children.Our guests on the Lean to the Left and Justice Counts podcasts explore those developments and their implications.

Robert Kesten has worked globally promoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and furthering democracy. His work has taken many forms, including writing and producing an award winning documentary on the Holocaust and Concentration Camps in Poland. He worked on the Ghanaian Constitution, produced events leading to Ukrainian independence, and events for AIDS day and decriminalization of homosexuality in Ukraine, which was the first Soviet Republic to do so. He is currently the Executive Director of Stonewall National Museum and Archives and is actively engaged in the LGBTQ+ community, committed to using history as a tool to make sense of the present and form a community response for today, tomorrow, and beyond. Born and raised in New York, Lesley Abravanel covered the amusingly vapid celeb scene in South Florida for the Miami Herald and several supermarket mags. She also wrote about restaurants, nightlife and travel for such outlets as the and the Daily Mail. After 2016, she took a major left turn and started using her platform to speak up about politics, especially after being blocked on Twitter by a certain one-term, twice-impeached former "president" who has recently been indicted. She parlayed that into her current position as Managing Editor for Occupy Democrats and Washington Press, two of the internet's most followed left-leaning websites. She sometimes covers antisemitism in Palm Beach County for The Forward. When she's not fighting fascism, she collects hot sauces, raises twins, and attempts to learn Swedish from her Stockholm-born husband. I strongly recommend that you follow her twitter page. @lesleyabravanel For the first time in its history- only one teacher from the state of Florida is registered to attend the 10th annual Stonewall National Education Project (SNEP) Educators' Symposium next week (April 13-16) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One teacher. No administrators, no government employees.

I’m joined on this program by co-host Mark M. Bello, who also hosts the Justice Counts podcast, which also is streaming this episode. Mark: Robert, only one Florida teacher registered for the Educators’ Symposium. But this event is in Florida and SNEP was started ten years ago in partnership with Florida's Broward County Public Schools. Please tell our audience what SNEP is and why only one teacher is registered to attend the event? Bob: That’s outrageous. Worse, I understand that Florida-type attacks on literature, arts, and music are spreading to other states. Tell us about that. Mark: If the goal is to protect kids, why do the same groups who seek to ban books, also seek to permit assault rifles? Why is the 2nd Amendment sacrosanct, but the 1st not so much? Bob: Lesley, I’d like to turn to you for a second. Hearing Mark read your bio, I think it’s a badge of honor to be banned from Twitter by a certain former president, but I also heard that you were the Managing Editor for Occupy Democrats and Washington Press, two of the internet's most followed left-leaning websites. What caused your twitter ban, and please tell us about your websites and left-leaning advocacy? There is much, much more...take a listen...

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