As Republican-led state and local governing bodies around the country continue to insert themselves into the lives of everyday citizens—denying them autonomy of body, identity, and mind—it’s important to highlight the brave work of the younger generation, who so often have to take it upon themselves to fend off big government overreach.
So it is that high school students from Wake County, North Carolina are making their voices heard at local school board meetings in the wake of recent attempts to ban books related to race, gender, and sexuality. Emerson Phillips and Sage Clausen, seniors at Cary High School, are leaders of the school’s Ideas Club (which promotes engagement and activism) and were dismayed to see the national movement to ban books hit their own school. As Phillips told Greensboro’s Spectrum News:
We were learning about books in the news that were being challenged in Texas. And that was only a few months ago, but it felt like we were so far removed from the issue because it wasn’t happening in our state. And then all of a sudden, books were being challenged right here at our school, and it was kind of a wake-up call, like, oh wow, you know, this can kind of happen wherever. And it is going to directly affect us.
Phillips went on to make the case that aside from students feeling represented in the books available to them—which is vital—everyone should try to read outside of their everyday experiences.
People should read these books if they’re interested because even if they aren’t part of the LGBT community, or if they aren’t somebody who’s not white, they can really learn a lot from reading about the perspectives of other people and kind of learning what they’ve been through.
Keep up the good fight, Emerson and Sage. We’re on your side.