Banned Books Week Provokes Thought, Promotes Socialization on September 20


Jeremy Gottschalk

Muslim Ambassadors of Peace (pictured) were among the groups present for Sept 20’s Banned Book Week event held on Valencia East Campus mall.

Miao Yu, Reporter


An in-person event kicked off Banned Books Week and First Amendment Day, evoking participants’ concerns and thoughts about free speech and free press. More importantly, it was a great opportunity for Valencia College students to communicate and make friends.

The event took place on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the East Campus mall. There were fourteen booths decorated with books, posters, and souvenirs to champion the first five freedoms and to discuss the dangers of censorship”.

“You can take away any book you like from the table, all of which are banned books, banned for certain reasons by different institutions.” said Valencia College Librarian Mary Alex. Alex enthusiastically talked to every student who passed by and showed interest, saying that everyone was welcome to attend more events organized by the library in the coming days, which could be found by following the library’s Instagram.

This type of event is a valuable opportunity for clubs and degree programs to recruit new members and connect with students. “We just attended a club gathering party several weeks ago, and this is another precious chance for us to establish relationships with more students”, said Soraine Leonard, a sophomore from Colombia and Student Government Association member.

Besides Valencia College clubs, there are also cross-school organizations. People Power For Florida, aims to build a multi-class, multi-racial and multi-generational coalition to help people access their right to vote”. The group drew a lot of attention from students. “We received the invitation from Valencia College several days ago, said Communications Director Allison Minnerly. “We are convinced that there is a direct link between the banned books, freedom of speech and elections. We also want to build a bridge with college students to welcome them to be informed voters and volunteers for our organization.”


Students discuss censorship and freedoms at fourteen club, community and organization booths at Banned Book Week hosted on East Campus on September 20.

Within one hour, nearly 100 students visited the different booths and asked various questions with curiosity. Abdul Wahhab, AA in Health Science, stood in front of the booth of Muslim Ambassadors For Peace and said she was happy to participate in the various events and enjoy the social life on campus. “I usually come to campus three times a week, once for class study, and twice for campus events. I am excited to build my social life here.

However, there were also some students who bypassed the booths and went straight into the building. Peter Xu was one of them, a local student and freshman, he said, I would like to attend  campus events, but I don’t have time. I have a tough course schedule.

This was the first event of Banned Book Week and First Amendment Day, followed by an essay contest, a trivia contest and a presentation on Spiegelman’s 1980 banned graphic novel “Maus” about the Holocaust. Valencia College students not only have the opportunity to gain something intellectually from these activities, but also to enjoy the rich social life on campus.